Following statements last week by the Department of Homelessness & Supportive Housing indicating that officials intend to remove all homeless encampments within the city once and for all, we now get confirmation that frequent detractor of such actions, Supervisor David Campos, has confirmed that it's now his goal to have all tents off of Mission District streets within four months.
"Over the past month, my office has worked closely with the newly created Department of Homelessness to ensure that the Mission is the top priority for their 'Encampment Resolution Team,' a new team whose focus is getting people out of encampments and into shelters and permanent housing," wrote Campos. "Our plan, and my commitment to you, is to remove all Mission encampments within the next four months, in an effective and humane manner."
"I am glad to report that the process for encampment removal is already underway," he continued.
The four month timeline puts us in January — a notoriously rainy time of year when tents tend to become even more noticeable than usual. And as Mission Local reports, January cannot come soon enough for some Mission residents upset about their homeless neighbors.
“This neighborhood is an absolute travesty,” a man who only gave his name as Mark told Department of Homelessness head Jeff Kositsky at a Monday community meeting. “You should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s disgusting.”
“We pay the highest rents," David Garcia, another neighbor, said to Kositsky. "We pay the highest property taxes in the country. We deserve better.”
According to Campos, the initial push is being directed at the encampment on Folsom near 19th Street. Services, including a 30 to 60-day stay in a Navigation Center, will be offered to those sleeping on the block.
“If someone says no, they’re going to be asked to take their tent down and move,” Kositsky told Mission Local.
Interestingly, when asked by the publication, Kositsky said he was unaware of Campos's four-month timeline — suggesting that perhaps the "commitment" is not as rock solid as the outgoing Supervisor would have us believe. Kositsky also indicated to SFist last week, "I never said we are going to remove all tent encampments [citywide]; I said we have a list of 70+ encampments and we plan to work through the list to the best of our ability."
Either way, it appears that the momentum is moving on this one, and that the Mission District will be the testing ground for the city's zero-tent vision. Will it succeed where other plans have failed?
Check back in in January.