A tent encampment lining the street at 16th and Potrero one of the more consistent locations of a sizable tent city that tends to return quickly following city cleanup efforts has been a source of fear, frustration, and disgust for employees who come to work on the block, and it seems that they may have called in KRON 4 to shine new light on the situation since the city can't seem to make it go away.
Lantern-jawed reporter J.R. Stone gets on the case in the video above, speaking to employees at one company who say they've decided to move offices at the end of the month because of the homeless problem.
One woman says she's intimidated by the presence of the camp and it makes her feel unsafe when she's walking alone to or from the office. But there's more, she says. "Seeing the needles on the street, and having to deal with feces on the street. It's more than just that it feels unsafe. A lot of it is hazardous."
The Department of Public Works and the city's Homeless Outreach team have made consistent, seemingly ineffective efforts to clear tent encampments like this one, and others clustered around Division Street, and 14th and Mission Street. At the latter location Mission Local recently made a video in which they spoke to homeless campers there who confirmed that as soon as DPW finishes their sweep, "we can come right back."
Meanwhile, frustrated by the citywide situation, DPW chief Mohammed Nuru has gone sort of rogue, authorizing unofficial removals of encampments without the 24 hours advance notice required by Proposition Q. He recognizes that in many cases, the department's cleanups are just that, and "not technically removals" of the camps.
For the sake of public health and safety, the department makes efforts to clean up human waste and discarded needles, power-washing sidewalks and the like, but without more permanent solutions for where to relocate the homeless, the camps never really disperse for long.
In one week of stepped-up efforts, Nuru said that they cleaned up 53,100 pounds of garbage and 3,295 used syringes from six encampments in SoMa and the Mission.