Appeals court to rule on whether San Francisco can clear homeless encampments

Judges with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday are poised to make a crucial determination on whether the city of San Francisco can resume clearing homeless encampments. 

This follows a prior year's ruling by a federal judge that restrained the city from engaging in such actions. 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, along with at least three supervisors, is arguing that the city needs to retain the authority to clear homeless encampments. They, along with more than a dozen neighborhood, business, and community groups, plan to rally outside the courthouse.

Last year, a federal judge blocked the city from enforcing a local ordinance that prohibits people from sleeping and camping on city streets.

 The judge sided with homeless advocates who argued that it was unjust to displace people from the streets when the city didn't have enough shelter beds.

In a motion, homeless advocates emphasized that San Francisco's shelter bed waitlist exceeded 1,000 people on it. There is no reservation system to get a bed.

The city argued that it has spent millions of dollars on housing and addressing homelessness, and that many times, people refuse offers to move to shelters.

As per the city's motion, "It is not the law nor is it practical... it would cost San Francisco $1.5 billion and at least 5 years – to house everyone now living on San Francisco's streets."

The city appealed the ban.