SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Eight protesters were arrested Tuesday morning for taking over an abandoned Kaiser Permanente building on San Francisco’s Divisadero Street in protest of what they said were inadequate resources for the city’s homeless population.
The group, Homes Not Jails, organized a rally Monday evening before marching to the building at the intersection of Divisadero and O’Farrell streets and occupying it overnight, group spokesman Paul Boden said.
About 25 people initially occupied the building, Boden said.
Tuesday morning Kaiser Permanente asked police to remove the squatters from the building, and officers responded and escorted women and children out of the building before arresting eight men, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.
KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:
The men were taken to the Park Station to be cited for trespassing, Dangerfield said.
He said that although the group said they had only begun occupying the building Monday night, “it looked like people had been there for a few days.”
Boden said his group often uses nonviolent actions to raise awareness of the plight of the city’s homeless and the lack of affordable housing in the city.
He said this week’s action was also to criticize Kaiser Permanente, which owns the building.
“A health care agency has an empty building, which could easily be used for respite or medically injured adults who are homeless while they figure out what to do with it,” Boden said.
A spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente was not immediately available to comment on the incident.
Boden said the group estimates that there are about 30,000 empty housing units in San Francisco, which he said is more than enough to accommodate the roughly 10,000 homeless people living in the city.
“We’re sitting on empty buildings while people are living out in the streets,” Boden said. “To us, it seems like we need to take a new approach.”
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