Yet another tent encampment at 14th and Mission got cleared Wednesday by the city's Department of Public Works in an ongoing game of musical tent cities that is one way your local tax dollars are being spent. Just last Sunday they did a similar such clearing at San Bruno Avenue and Alameda Street during a rainstorm, prompting this open letter from one of the homeless women whose belongings were treated as junk, and today Mission Local brings us coverage of the scene at 14th and Mission.
Because of the severe shortage of shelter beds and temporary housing for the homeless, these tent clearings do little to stem the problem as campers simply relocate themselves, and often return to the same space within days or weeks.
From the perspective of the DPW, as department spokesperson Rachel Gordon, if these encampments are allowed to stay put for extended periods of time, beyond the fact that they block sidewalks and annoy neighbors, they create public health hazards including discarded needles and human waste.
Elizabeth Stromer, a former hospice nurse who's been homeless for four years, tells Mission Local that there's a reason people stick together as "neighbors" in these encampments. " women out here and guys too are being raped and murdered," she says.
In the poignant and short video above, Stromer says of the clearing, as it's happening, "As soon as they're done we can come right back." She adds, "You know, we're survivors. We're not third-class citizens. We're not sub-human... Who knows, maybe we're in the final days and we're the ones [who] are the survivors. Maybe time will repeat itself. Jesus was homeless too, they wouldn't have denied him."