San Francisco to crack down on homeless encampments

KTVU has learned that a crackdown on homeless encampments in and around San Francisco's Mission District could come as soon as Wednesday.

Mayor Mark Farrell said it's time for the tent cities to go. "We have to acknowledge that we have been moving from compassion on our streets to enabling street behavior. As mayor I am saying that is not okay," said Farrell. 

Farrell said outreach teams have been trying to get those sleeping in tents into services. But he says within the next few days, as a start, the city will be taking down about 120 tents in and around the Mission. 

"We need to make sure the streets are safe for everyone, for every San Francisco resident," Farrell said.

But after past sweeps, new camps have tended to pop up a few blocks away. Farrell says the city will be making sure that doesn't happen.

But one long time homeless man who sleeps in tent on Duboce Avenue, said he's been through this before. "I'm staying right here. I'm not going anywhere," said Oscar McKinney.

Homeless advocates say the city has no room to shelter all those who may be displaced.

"We need real resources. We need real political will. Instead of moving people from block to block and keep doing this political fake-out we've seen over and over again. Mark Farrell is no different. Just a different face," sid Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition On Homelessness.

Removing tents is one thing. Figuring out what to do with people who refuse help is another.

"We can't control where they go," said Farrell.  "Ultimately, we have to say as a city we won't tolerate this anymore. I don't know where they are going to go."

Farrell said the crackdown is not a solution to homelessness. But he said it should remove a public safety hazard.