San Francisco Public Works installs boulders to deter homeless

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Boulders have been installed near the freeway overpasses at Cesar Chavez and Portero Avenue to deter the homeless, according to a report by Mission Local. 

Photos show the boulders apparently strategically placed along a fence and median in the area in an area the homeless population previously occupied. The boulders are scattered about three different Caltrans-owned open spaces in areas that until recently were makeshift campgrounds to dozens of homeless people. 

Mission Local reports the boulders were purchased for $8,700.

“We put them in there to help deter re-encampment a bit and for aesthetics, just to change it up,” Larry Stringer, deputy director of operations at Public Works told Mission Local. Stringer adds purchasing the boulders is "more cost effective" than weekly cleanups that were being done. 

Stringer said Public Works spends the purchasing price in a just cleaning up because of the health hazards and for safety reasons. 

The area is known as the Hairball. The city cleared an encampment from the area in November that had been there for several years, according to the report. 

Corinthians Redmon, who says he has been homeless for the past two years, moved across the street when the city put in the boulders. 

"The boulders are useless," said Redmon, adding the rocks aren't enough to keep the homeless from moving back. "There a waste of taxpayers money."

The boulders only cover a fraction of the spaces, but the city says its a low cost pilot plan worth trying.

"We're trying this out. We'll see what happens. With pilots you find out what works and what doesn't and you make adjustments. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work," said Stringer. 

Read the full report from Mission Local here.