San Francisco Mayor London Breed has sensationally blasted homeless activists in the city, complaining they are keeping people on the streets and enabling them.
She claimed advocates get in the way of city workers and discourage those most in need from going into shelters and getting help.
“These activists are the same people who hand out tents to keep people on the street instead of working to bring them indoors, as we are trying to do,” Breed wrote on the online platform Medium.
“And they are the same people instructing and encouraging people to refuse shelter — to remain on the street instead of going indoors. Their agenda is clear.”
For the past year, San Francisco has been embroiled in a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness, which claimed the city violated state and federal laws by clearing encampments and destroying belongings of the homeless without offering shelter.
An appeals court on Monday ruled individuals who have access to shelter but decline it are “not involuntarily homeless,” opening a way for the city to restart clearing the mass of tents, trash and discarded needles which have taken over city sidewalks in neighborhoods such as the Tenderloin and Union Square.
San Francisco’s homeless population is estimated to be around 8,000, with half refusing to accept services and shelter when it is offered to them, according to TV station Kron4.
The city’s Healthy Streets Operation Center approached 2,344 homeless people living on the streets, but 1,278 people— or 54%— refused to accept shelter, according the latest data collected by the organization.
Breed said she expects members of the Coalition will keep the lawsuit going, and could even try to block city workers from executing the latest court order.
“Unfortunately, the plaintiffs in this case will still be out interfering with [our] work,” Breed said. “They will film our city workers. They will try to tell our workers what they can and cannot do.”
The mayor said city staff will be trained over the next few weeks to go over the appellate court’s instructions on what they can and can’t clear under the latest court order, which Breed called was “a step in the right direction.”
The Post has reached out to attorneys representing the Coalition on Homelessness.
In their proposed settlement, the Coalition listed their demands of the city, including filling all vacant shelter units within 30 days.
They also want the city to maintain a waitlist to track all available beds and provide an “emergency stop gap measure” that leads to permanent housing. They also demanded better trash disposal and sidewalk cleanings around encampments.
“Everyone, including unhoused people, want streets free of trash and debris,” the Coalition wrote. “Such cleaning schedules must follow postage signage and should not be conducted between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when unhoused residents are trying to sleep.
“The city cannot use street cleanings as a pretext to harass unhoused residents instead of appropriately cleaning the area.”
San Francisco has experienced an exodus of businesses and residents since the COVID-19 pandemic, sending the City by the Bay into a so-called “doom loop” where open drug is happening on federal property.
A tour last month through the city’s Tenderloin district had hoped to counter that “doom” narrative, but only showed the increasing need for services and shelter as tour participants encountered tent after tent blocking sidewalks and piles of trash in the neighborhood.