As you know, there have been various small battles being waged following the mayor's announced plan to tackle "hot spots" among homeless encampments citywide and systematically "clear" them, which typically just leads to them popping up elsewhere. The new crackdown came in the wake of the shooting of one homeless man, Luis Gongora, by the SFPD, and some heightened rhetoric about the "safety" of the camps. Countering that is a proposal announced two weeks ago by Supervisor John Avalos which will require city workers to give campers 15 days notice before the removal of tents can occur, and that delay can be extended if the city can't immediately offer free supportive housing to the individuals being evicted from the camp.
The Chronicle's C.W. Nevius takes on this proposed ordinance, which still will need approval by the Board of Supervisors, calling it a "template for chaos," and focusing on one small camp that's been recently given "hot spot" status on Florida Street near 16th. He interviews a couple of people at McCalls Catering, whose headquarters is right there and who made complaints to the city that were met with less than immediate results.
They've had the familiar experience of seeing people shooting up on the sidewalk, and they complain "they bicker and fight constantly, harass the women who work at the company." The city has encouraged the people at McCalls to report any illegal activity they see among the campers, but so far that has only consisted of the above, the open drug use, and "One of them defecated on the car of one of our clients."
They've seen a city worker arrive with a clipboard and talk to campers about supportive housing, and allegedly the campers have refused the offer. The neighbors then witnessed all of the camp's tents get replaced with brand new tents from REI.
The problem, of course, are the warring factions fighting for quality-of-life enforcement who say the camps are unsanitary and unsafe, and homeless advocates like the Coalition on Homelessness who say that there simply aren't enough shelter beds for those who need them, setting aside some campers who may be "service resistant." The current shelter reservation waitlist, which they point to and which you can see for yourself here, has 790 people on it. Only the 80 people with the highest seniority on that list are instructed to call in for instructions today.
Avalos's proposal, if passed, would also require that for camps of more than 30 people, the city must provide sanitary services like bathrooms and garbage collection. Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, said in response to the proposed ordinance, via the Examiner, "This legislation is San Francisco’s opportunity to ensure that there is a humane and just plan in place to address our city’s crisis." Further, she said, "Cities are not going to ticket or displace their way out of homelessness, while human lives are shortened and lost. Housing is the only solution, and until then we must continue to protect the civil rights of all people."