SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)— An order given by the San Francisco Department of Public Health advising homeless people who have been residing in tents along Division Street in San Francisco to vacate the area expired Friday at 5 p.m.
Roughly two dozen tents were seen along the stretch, located between Bryant Street and South Van Ness Avenue. Some of the residents were seen disassembling their tents and packing up their belongings.
A 72-hour notice to vacate was posted in the area on Tuesday, as public health officials determined the living conditions there to be a public health nuisance, citing the accumulation of garbage, human feces, hypodermic needles and urine odors. One DPW worker said he’s been filling 80 plastic garbage bags a day.
Additionally, on Thursday, the public health officials posted another 72-hour order to vacate near Showplace Square. The area encompasses roughly four blocks located on both San Bruno and Vermont Streets, between Division and 17th streets. That order is set to expire by 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Rachael Kagan, a spokeswoman for the city's health department.
Health department officials conducted an inspection of the area on Thursday and concluded it was a public nuisance.
Since Tuesday, the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team has been helping people in the area gather their belongings and is offering to take them, their belongings, as well as their pets and partners, to a homeless shelter at Pier 80.
Today homeless outreach workers had contacted 83 homeless people on Division Street on Thursday and directed 28 people to the shelter at Pier 80, Kagan said.
As of today, there were 17 beds available at the Pier 80 shelter and 15 at the city's Navigation Center, located at 1950 Mission Street, according to Kagan.
"We're glad that the people who have relocated are in a better and safer environment," Kagan said.
Mayor Ed Lee says he wants to take a humane approach to clearing the encampments
“We’re going to end encampments as best we can and we have alternatives that are better for them and they have to kind of take a look at those options,” said Lee.
However, not all homeless people in the area were enthusiastic about the idea of moving to a shelter.
One man, identified only as Larry, said he has lived in a tent on Division Street for about a month. Larry said he was reluctant to go because he had been bitten by bed bugs at a different homeless shelter in the past.
Officials with the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco said today that the 150 beds at the Pier 80 shelter would not be enough to house the estimated 5,000 people who are living on the city's streets.
They're asking the city to impose a moratorium on removing homeless encampments, create access to restrooms and showers, as well as provide homeless people with access to health care.
Additionally, the coalition is asking that the city provide better access to shelters coupled with an exit strategy so that homeless people don't return to the street after leaving the shelter.
The coalition also believes the city should create more Navigation Centers, like the one on Mission Street, which not only houses people temporarily, but seeks to place them into permanent housing.