Homeless camp raided

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California Highway Patrol police, San Francisco police, Cal Trans workers, Department of Public Works, and workers from the mayor’s Homeless Outreach Team descended today on an encampment on Fourth and King.

Yesterday, 40-50 people lived on the sidewalk and under the freeway overpass next to the Caltrain tracks. The encampment had tents, mobile units, and other makeshift housing. One group of residents had a large tent with a well-maintained garden in the front yard.

Another, a woman who several residents said suffered from mental illness, had built a home out of metal that looked like parts of carts, wood, sheets and mattresses. After about four hours this morning, most other residents were moved out of the camp, but she remained, moving and packing suitcases. After Homeless Outreach Team members, police, workers, and humanitarian volunteers approached her, she took a single suitcase and walked to the sidewalk, then sat and watched as her other suitcases, mattresses, and the structures that constituted her house were thrown into a garbage truck.

The eviction began around 8am. Some residents said they were told they could take with them only what they could carry or, if they had something wheeled like a shopping or bike cart, what they could push. Others said they hadn’t been told one way or another what they could take, just that they had to get out.
 
The items in the dump trucks, said CHP Officer Sarah Wrathall, is “the stuff they said they don’t want.” Wrathall said people were given the chance to keep whatever they wanted to, and that items they wanted to keep but could not carry would be stored and tagged for retrieval later.

Jamie Crisco, a resident of the camp who was moving out, said that this was an unusual eviction. “There isn’t usually this dog and pony show,” said Crisco. A large amount of media was present at the eviction.

“Usually they will tell people to get out, and people will start packing. And in the process the workers will come and start taking stuff and throwing it away,” said Crisco, a veteran who had been living in a small trailer for a year.

“I don’t understand that,” added Crisco. “You’re creating a criminal element when you do that. You’re putting people in a position where they have to steal to acquire what just got taken from them.”

According to John Gallagher, an organizer with the Coalition on Homelessness who did outreach at the encampment before it was evicted, trash was pushed safely to the side and the camp was clean and peaceful before this morning’s “clean up.”

“We’re respectful, we’re quiet. Honestly, we keep this area cleaner than they ever could dream to,” agreed one person who was staying in the camp.

Wrathall described a very different situation, saying that the area under the overpass had amassed trash, waste and rats.

She said that the eviction was based on complaints from neighbors and other residents.

“People have a right to complain if they can’t walk down the sidewalk to get to Caltrain,” said Wrathall. She said that some people feared the dogs that lived in the camp.

She said illegal lodging and trespassing was reason enough to evict the camp’s residents. “It doesn’t have to be any other kind of crime.”

No citations were issued this morning.

Camp resident Margaret Stallings said that the camp was very peaceful and neighbors walked on the sidewalk and parked their cars in the adjacent parking lots without issues.

“This is a dead end street,” she said. The area under the freeway is out of the way of most city life and, according to Stallings, “Some people have been underneath there for eight years.”

In an outreach report written based on Gallagher’s observations, he stated that “This camp is so peaceful that I saw more that four people on their way to work walk unafraid right down the middle of camp.”

Patrice Perkins, who had been living in the camp for two and a half months, said that the encampment's location was relatively tucked away. He expressed frustration that many of the residents will be pushed out towards other parts of SoMa and downtown.

“We found a place where you’re not in public. We’re not bothering anybody here,” he said. He pointed out the no parking signs along the street.

“See, no parking. It’s not being used.”

His neighbor in the camp, James Belcher, said that the eviction was causing him to miss two classes at Laney College. “I missed Civil War History this morning, and I’ll miss math at 10:30,” he said. Belcher said he has been studying for a few solid semesters and earning good  grades while looking for work, but struggling, based in part on issues associated with being a disabled veteran.

“It’s difficult for me to study in this little tent and stay in school,” he said.

One resident, who said she provided first aid at the camp, shared disinfectant wipes with a DPW worker when he expressed a need for them.

One of the city's stated concerns with the camp was the presence of children, and in Gallagher’s outreach statement he said at least two children lived in the camp. None were present this morning, and Wrathall said that in her previous visits to the camp, she hadn’t seen any.

“I’ve never seen kids here, but if I did, I would take them to CPS [Child Protective Services]. Of if they’re older, 16 or 17, I would connect them to services like Huckleberry House. I would never walk away from someone who is 18 or under in the encampment. Its not safe," she said.
 
“Homelessness is not a crime. People are afraid for the public to see their children because they will be taken away from them. And for what, the crime of being poor?” said Gallagher.

The Homeless Outreach Team secured rooms for several of the people who were evicted, including Stallings and Crisco.

“They’re housing me. I’ve been waiting on the VA list for housing for four and a half years,” said Crisco. “I’m a combat vet. I used to be a business owner. But life does things to you. Ends up putting you in places you didn’t plan on being.”

Crisco said he was happy to accept the room, but frustrated in general with the way the homeless are pushed around.

“I’m only human. I can only take so much pushing and prodding,” he said. “Sometimes, someone’s going to snap. And they’ll say, it’s the drugs. They never say, maybe it’s us. Maybe its what we’re doing to them.”

Comments

the issue though, is it? If I camp out in your home but do not technically break any laws, does that make it OK?

Even assuming that trespass is not, by itself, a crime which I believe it is.

A group cannot just take over public or private land as if it were their own, as the hapless Occupy folks found out during their 15 minutes of fame last year.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

I hope you are homeless someday. I hope you get to have the feeling of everything being taken away from you. Maybe it will come from an accident or illness that renders you unable to work. And I hope you remember when you wrote this idiotic piece of bullshit.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

that you make about what to do in your life. The solution to homelessness is not stealing land and homes from others. That's a crime.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 6:52 am

I hope you are homeless someday. I hope you get to have the feeling of everything being taken away from you. Maybe it will come from an accident or illness that renders you unable to work. And I hope you remember when you wrote this idiotic piece of bullshit.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

A group cannot just take over public or private lands as if the land was their own. But that is exactly how the United States was began, showed up and built what you now see today nationwide took away private and what would represent an equal to public lands --- tribal lands. These people are Americans so why should any of us expect anything less. P.S. Laws whose laws? are we not supposedly a Godly nation. According to Gods laws what we did to build the greatest free nation on the planet was nothing short of haveing coveted our neighbors goods. The Native lands were so important to the various intrested parties that we exterminated over 100 million tribal natives and extinguished over 4000 individual unique dialects. And now we make criminals out of people for continuing to take up residence on lands that others have laid claim to whether they use them or not. All of it initiated by Pope Alexander VI Papal Bull Inter Caetera which legally speaking he possessed no actual authority to do so.

Posted by Does America proper have to lay claims to every square inch. on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 11:34 am

People do think they have the right to draw up their own property lines

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

Now let's start a methodical sweep through the Tenderloin.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

They are homeless how would any of you feel, if you had! To sleep outside tonight, because you had no place else. Then when you finally find a piece of concrete to lay down on, here comes a stupid cop to run you off. All because the people with houses to sleep in safely dont want you there! Homeless people are not criminals! And no matter how comfy your life is now it may be you on that street one day!

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

It's gonna be a warm one so if it had to be any night I'd definitely pick tonight.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

Leaving people to live on the street to be exposed to disease, starvation, cold and rainy weather, and sexual assault and other violence is not compassionate either.

10 of the individuals living in the camp were referred to indoor housing. Yes, I know living in a shelter or in an SRO is by no means heaven, but either option is much safer and cleaner than living on the streets. One resident of the camp interviewed by the Chronicle said she did not want to live inside because she did not want to be subject to rules and she wanted to continue to use her meth. That is certainly her choice, but if she makes that choice, then she should expect to periodically be moved from place to place, along with the other downsides to living on the streets.

Most of the people who are homeless are suffering from mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction, or both. While I know there is always a need for more services, I also know that a certain number of homeless people refuse help because they either do not want it or they are not able to understand how serious their situation is. For better or for worse, people cannot just be forced into a shelter, assisted-living, or a treatment facility. It is a difficult and complex process to have someone civilly committed, and it is appropriate that it is not that easy. Ultimately, people have a right to make even bad decisions. However, all choices come with consequences. And those who choose to live on the streets have various consequences to face from that choice.

For those who want to get off the streets, I am glad the city and various non-profit organizations offer assistance, and I hope through public and private support services to help individuals leave homeless continue to be expanded.

Posted by Chris on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

They are homeless how would any of you feel, if you had! To sleep outside tonight, because you had no place else. Then when you finally find a piece of concrete to lay down on, here comes a stupid cop to run you off. All because the people with houses to sleep in safely dont want you there! Homeless people are not criminals! And no matter how comfy your life is now it may be you on that street one day!

Posted by GuestSNMARSHALL on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

Why is it always a stupid cop?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

Working on homeless issues has been my job for the past several years and I see more often than not, really well-intentioned people doing things to keep a homeless person homeless. The only real answer to homelessness is helping a homeless person or family into permanent (supportive) housing (not a temporary shelter). Not only is it more cost effective, it's more humane. I hear many people, even those who work with the homeless in my area, say that they want to be out on the street. I have never come across (except one severely mentally ill individual) anyone who didn't accept our offer to get them into a permanent room of their own. Period.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 8:17 am

That makes a great deal of sense. People who are critical of homeless cleansing are really against homeless people. Thank you for your years of service helping the homless, matlock.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 8:37 am

homeless people.

The problem in SF is that we have a disproportionate number of homeless people. And the more help, support and shelters we provide for them, the more likely more of them are to come here.

Other cities and states have been known to give their homeless people a one-way bus ticket to SF, thereby transferring the problem to us. And we don't have the money to fund homes for anyone who shows up.

So as well-meaning as "Guest" sounds, he could actually be compounding the problem and not solving it as he believes. Sometimes a little tough love is what is needed.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 10:09 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 11:15 am

municipalities were taking active steps to move their homeless people to SF. I think it would be more shocking if that were not true.

But regardless, my point is the usual one of "moral hazard" - any city that is unusually generous in it's welfare provisions will necessarily attract the kind of people who seek them.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 11:31 am

Telling that after being prompted for proof of that allegation, you resorted to the "widely reported" tack; just like so many comments with regard to highly suspect Ross Mirkarimi. We really ought to avoid judging truth based on our pre-conceptions -- especially when so many of those are based on Rush Limbaugh-type talking points.

The *fact* is that if it was ever reported that homeless were being bused to S.F., that would be a tort against the city and the perpetrators would have been made to *pay* *dearly* for their mistake.

San Francisco is hardly generous with regard to the homeless -- obviously.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

that homeless people target SF, as well as those who want to be rid of them.

Regardless, I support 100% this ousting of the homeless for exactly the reason you give - pour discourager les autres.

Moral hazard has no place in our policies.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

You had your chance to prove your spurious claim, but must resort to bogus "everybody knows" type argumentation. Liar. Fool. Troll II.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

I'm an unhappy, miserable person who believes my statements here have some consequence or impact outside of the 5-10 people who read this site every day. It's pathetic, I know, but it's really all I have to hold onto these days. I'm jobless and have been for a while but thanks to rent control I have a place to live - even if it's a total dump. I don't have a girlfriend and never have and am a virgin at age 53 which for me is probably the saddest part of my whole, shameful existence - that I cannot get laid and in addition I have no friends. While San Francisco bustles with energy and vibrancy around me I sit in my hot, spartanly-furnished studio on an old Dell 486 leaving insults for others on the SFBG comment board while consuming fistfuls of stale Cheetos I buy using food stamps. If you were me you'd hate yourself too.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

While I feel some compassion for your situation, it hardly helps when you present a mindless, kneejerk response to every issuehere, and appear to have no life beyond posting drivel here 24/7.

Yes, it's terrible that some people don't have homes blah blah. But I feel very comfortable with the latest action against this camp. SF can't be a walking cesspit to house thousands of these people on the public dime.

We probably can't drive them all out, as other towns clearly do, but we certainly don't have to roll out a red carpet either.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

Just more troll deposits. Bring your own pooper scooper next time...it really stinks.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

I had a rare moment of total honesty about my pathetic life situation there. Sorry for oversharing but I needed to be clear about why I am the way I am. I wish I could paint a prettier picture but at least it's honest - something I also am not very good at being.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

make a tasty, inexpensive meal, though the meat from the drug addicts and alkies can sometimes be stringy.

Posted by Ruth Bladder Ginsu on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 10:08 am

A lovely quote from one of the hardworking homeless Yael writes so movingly of. As usual you have to turn to the Chronicle to get anything other than a progressive fantasy of what was really going on in that Mayberry-under-the-freeway. Vermin infestations, needles and pipes scattered around, piles of shit (literally) everywhere. And to think - they had two children living there. But hey - at least they had a garden!!

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 10:49 am

Yael's just the newest apparatchik at the SFBG, dutifully churning out tales of losers, half-wits, and other hygienically-challenged misfits as she clamors for social justice. She may as well just scribble her thoughts on a napkin and throw it away.

Posted by Ruth Bladder Ginsu on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 11:26 am

The Chron ran a heartwarming picture of a homeless woman playing with "her" dog as she awaited counseling after the raid. Turns out the dog was stolen from in front of a store at 19th and Valencia last week - and now the dog and its real owner have been reunited.

Just another tale from this spotlessly clean and law abiding community which was so heartlessly broken up by The Man yesterday.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

But in the off-chance that it is a unique Troll II comment which can be corroborated as fact, I'll provide the space below for a citation to prove it.

See below, and judge for yourself whether it is corroborating evidence or just more Troll II deposits:

V V V

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

Einstein, it was in the SFist:

http://sfist.com/2012/08/29/city_clears_out_huge_homeless_encam.php

Now, @lillipublicans...once again you've made a complete fool out of yourself and it happens much too often to be any type of mere coincidence. For your own good I'm giving you some space now to take the first step. Just admit, proudly that you are a severely troubled individual and that you need help. Here is your space:

vvvvv

Posted by Troll on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

He makes it so easy, doesn't he? I sometimes feel like the cat playing with an unfortunate little mouse when he challenges me. I tease it, let it scamper a few feet and then - SMACK. It's all over ;-)

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

Well I think that @liil really likes you, Troll II. I mean...he must call you a dumbass liar 2 or 3 times a day. That is probably how he shows his affection.

I know this is all a complete waste of time and it is actually sort of cruel but it just absolutely cracks me up when he makes one of his blustery demands and when the other poster makes him look like a complete fool and it doesn't bother him in the least. He just shrugs it off like nothing happened and 30 minutes later he is made to look like a fool again somewhere else.

In a way, I'm jealous. Such ignorance of ignorance. How blissful it must be,

Posted by Troll on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

Also this same person posts under several other names; often accusing others of being sock puppets; impostering others while -- of course@! -- denying it. Amusing. Disturbing. Obvious.

This sort of psychopath does not have the capacity to judge fact from fiction or reality from psychotic apparation, and the fact that "Troll-n" cites a highly suspect source for proof of the claim -- what? No last name for "Deirdre?" No police report? -- and that the bit about the dog fits seemlessly with every other bit of reactionary anti-homeless invective in the piece makes such "proof" completely discardable.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

Lol, he wants to see the police report now. I think that is an imp, not the real @lilli but it is really funny anway. And the worst part is that I could honestly imagine the real @lilli saying something that:

"You offer a gossip rag as the *source" of your *story*? And no police report? Dumbass. Liar.

But enough...whoever the real @lillipublican is he obviously has an empty life and getting beat up here is what he lives for...we should just let him be and not deprive him of the little that he has. And imping him seems unnecessarily cruel.

Posted by Troll on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

Everything is all a vast conspiracy and SFIst is in on it too! Except while birthers are concerned over the President of the United States lilli's whining about the conspiracy behind a stolen pooch!!

"Where's the police report?!?!?!" Hahahahahaha!!!

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

Go to SFIst and read the story on the homeless camp cleanout - there's an update on the story showing the picture of the dog, the name of its real owner, where it was stolen, when and when the dog and owner were reunited.

I'll make it easier. Here's the paragraph to which I'm referring:

Sidenote: We've just received word also that the dog in this Chron photo, being played with by homeless woman LaShawn Giese, was stolen outside of a store on 19th and Valencia on Monday. The dog belongs to a woman named Deirdre, and luckily because of the sighting, the dog was ultimately returned to Deirdre this morning. Happy endings.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

And no mention of the drug paraphernalia? Used needles being cleaned out? Meth? There's some crackerjack reporting, sfbg. Apparently you support homeless addicts living in squalour. Truly progressive, that.

Posted by Mark on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

I don't believe you can hunt up any websites reporting on those facts, since if you could, you certainly would have done so.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

Helping the homeless or showing compassion for them does NOT equal allowing them to live in camps on public (or private) property, allowing them to pass out in their own filth on the street, looking the other way when they use drugs, tolerating dirty needles on your doorstep, permitting the use of public property as an open toilet, tolerating littering, etc or allowing children or pets to be raised/live in such conditions.

Quite the opposite really.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 30, 2012 @ 8:20 am

it's ironic because a lot of the new homeless are middle class the very people who made being homeless a crime hoping they would go away lol

Posted by Guest on Sep. 01, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

Homeless people are living a hard-scrabble existence and making the best of a bad situation; which is what human beings *always* do.

The ones who are hardest at work in chasing the homeless down are themselves feeling like they are being riden hard.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 01, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

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