Thursday morning brought the latest encampment sweep on Willow Street, one of several alleys off of Van Ness near Polk Gulch that have been perennially popular campout spots for the city's homeless.

In the last several years, Willow Street has been the target of dozens of encampment "resolutions" by the Healthy Streets Operation Center (HSOC), a collaboration of 14 different city agencies and departments including the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, and the Department of Public Works. The latest came this morning, and Mayor London Breed used the sweep as an opportunity to make a video touting the city's ongoing efforts to clean up the streets and address tent-camping in a legal fashion — noting, amid this lawsuit drama with the Coalition on Homelessness, that an inspector from the City Attorney's Office was on hand to make sure it was all handled lawfully.

"I want to be clear: We are investing resources, time, and energy, blood, sweat and tears, with people who are working, and doing all of what's necessary to help people living out on the streets of San Francisco," Breed said. "We can't continue to allow it to occur, but there are folks dedicated to this work every day."

Breed mentions that Willow Street — which runs between Franklin and Larkin, between Eddy and Ellis streets — has been one of the most problematic stretches in the city for "many years," and she says that Public Works is out there daily "picking up trash, and needles, and other problematic materials."

During today's operation, Breed said that some of those camping on the street had accepted offers of shelter, including one couple — though it was not clear what type of shelter was being offered.

At the heart of arguments in the federal court case which has recently been brought to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is whether offers of one-night shelter-bed stays should count as "adequate" shelter, especially when individuals may be asked to leave behind pets and belongings.

"We will keep sending our teams out, but we need more tools to bring people indoors," Breed said on X, in conjunction with the video post. "We have to remove limitations, including the federal court injunction, that prevents us from enforcing certain laws. And we need state law changes to be able to compel more people into treatment."

Breed added that in 300 HSOC operations so far this year, 1,254 unhoused individuals have gotten off the street and into shelter, though the length of those shelter stays is not clear. "That's a number to be proud of, but it's only about 45% of the people our teams have engaged. The rest are not accepting services," Breed said.

In comments below Breed's post Thursday, homeless advocate and social worker Kelley Cutler noted that she had witnessed another sweep in 2021 that involved a number of police officers. "Sweeps are very traumatic, by design," Cutler wrote. "Why so many cops? Why ANY cops?!"

Cutler notes that "not much has changed" about Willow Street or the sweeps since 2021. "It’s the same administration running the show. But sure, go ahead & believe what a politician is telling you."

Cutler said that in the 2021 sweep, "Most folks [just] moved to the next alley."

The SF Standard wrote about Willow Street a year ago, noting how it had been home to the city's largest encampment at points during the pandemic in 2021, with around 50 people camped there. And it was the target of "resolutions" by the HSOC nearly weekly throughout 2021, and then only sporadically in 2022.

One homeless woman who was camped there last September told the Standard that "There was a lot of help available for a short period" in 2020 and 2021 when the city still had hotel rooms to give away — and during that time, the HSOC said more individuals were receptive to taking those overs. "Now every few months, I don't know what makes them decide, [Public Works] will come through and make everybody pack their shit up and then people will go to the other side of Van Ness," she said.

Today's sweep coincides with the city Medical Examiner's monthly report on overdose deaths. In July, the city saw 71 fatal overdoses, most of those caused by fentanyl. That brings the total number of overdose deaths in SF this year to 473.

Related: SF City Attorney Sends Latest Salvo In Battle With Coalition on Homelessness Regarding Encampments