Residents of the "Here/There" homeless encampment in Berkeley are celebrating today as they were granted a temporary reprieve by a judge, who blocked an attempt by BART police to evict the residents from their location.
According to the Daily Cal, BART police officers posted a 72-hour eviction notice for the area, which prompted the residents to file a lawsuit against BART earlier this week. In their complaint, they wrote, "If plaintiffs are forced to move, homeless people who have no alternate shelter would be forced into the elements without shelter, causing irreperable [sic] injury. We seek an injunctive relief enjoining defendant and their agents from arresting plaintiffs or removing personal items and/or preventing conduct by plaintiffs to sleep, eat, and maintain shelter at the property."
U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup then temporarily barred BART from "removing any persons or possessions" from that encampment, giving the residents time to file an amended complaint, with a future hearing set for October 31st. The Daily Cal spoke with one of the residents, who explained that after living there for nine months, BART's eviction felt too quick. "We have to, at some point, resist," he said. "When people are homeless, they’re always being pushed around all the time by the law. Basically, when you’re homeless, you don’t have any rights. This (lawsuit) is kind of like, ‘Yes, you can resist.’" KTVU spoke with another resident, Jay Demello, who said, "We've been called the model camp by people walking by, by police, that we're a model camp."
Nearby, another camp was not quite so lucky. According to a report from Berkeleyside, BART officials kicked out a homeless encampment near 63rd and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, erecting a wire fence around the area to keep people from entering.
BART evicted the homeless camp at 63rd & MLK around 5 a.m., and put fencing up around the site. Story to come. pic.twitter.com/fbP4H0cyer— Berkeleyside (@berkeleyside) October 25, 2017
The camp was targeted by authorities after complaints began to roll in regarding the campers' behavior. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin described to KTVU the issues with that camp, saying, "There's been violence, there's been health and safety issues, you know. People have been using drugs. It's not acceptable. It has devolved into a situation that is dangerous for the community." Berkeleyside also says that the camp was at the center of another tragedy, as earlier this month a deaf mother of four was found dead inside one of the tents within the encampments. The investigation into her death is still ongoing.