SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As the Friday deadline looms for San Francisco’s homeless to clear out of the encampment along Division Street, city officials have expanded its sweep to encompass a four-block area that includes nearby Showplace Square.
Packing their things and clearing the part of the sidewalk they made their home — the homeless people who were living along Division in SoMa were moving out, not knowing where they’ll sleep Friday night. Mayor Ed Lee’s deadline expires at 5 p.m.
“I understand his position and I understand that, yeah, we make a mess; we make trash, said homeless man Don Valdispino. But it’s not illegal to be homeless, is it? Or is it?”
Along Harrison and 13th, employees with the citys Homeless Outreach Team were out early Friday offering help in finding an alternative place to stay.
The Department of Public Works said this activity wasn’t related to Mayor Lee’s deadline. This particular clean-up effort happens every day.
On Thursday, outreach teams spoke with 83 people camping on Division Street and placed almost 30 of them to shelters, with all but one person agreeing to go to the new shelter at Pier 80.
The city posted an additional 72-hour Order to Vacate in the area of Showplace Square vicinity early Thursday evening at around 4 p.m.
The area encompasses the four blocks bordered on the north by Division, on the south by 17th Street, on the west by San Bruno Street and on the east by Vermont Street.
Health Department’s Environmental Health Branch inspected the area and, as it discovered along Division Street, representatives found an accumulation of garbage, human waste, hypodermic needles and other unsanitary conditions.
The deadline for homeless people camped in the area to move is 5 p.m. Sunday.
“People are just going to migrate, said homeless man Starr Roberts. They’re going to rebuild; that’s the human ingenuity. They’re not just going to be like monkeys on a tree and do nothing.”
Roberts has been homeless for 11 years. He says he wants to act as a bridge between the homeless population and city officials.
“If the homeless people came together and marched, if we sat down at City Hall and put our tents at City Hall, and addressed it with ourselves as a voice, I think we would get a lot more things done,” Roberts explained.
Roberts says what the homeless advocates are doing is all well and good, but it’s not enough.
“It’s still alienating people. They’re not talking to homeless people, said Roberts. They’re saying they’re a voice and they’re going to march for the homeless people, but do they know the guy behind me? Do they know what’s going on with him?”
The Department of Public Health told KPIX 5 that they posted the notices regarding Mayor Lee’s 5 p.m. Friday deadline, but once the deadline passes, it will be up to the Department of Public Works and the police to enforce the deadline.