Time's Up for Homeless in San Francisco's Showplace Square - NBC Bay Area
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Time's Up for Homeless in San Francisco's Showplace Square

The City of San Francisco declared a large homeless encampment on Division Street a public health nuisance.

Homeless people living in San Francisco's Showplace Square have cleared out considerably since being given a 72-hour notice to vacate. Christie Smith reports. (Published Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016)

The homeless people who have set up camp on Showplace Square in San Francisco had until Sunday to pack up and find somewhere else to go. If they stay past that deadline, they risk facing police, or having their camps taken down by force.

Many homeless people said they wouldn’t be leaving, but the area did appear to be emptier than it had been on Thursday, when the Department of Public Health gave homeless in the area a 72-hour notice to  vacate.

Some who stay in the area have said that occupancy is down about 75 percent. A man named Stephen said he was going to wait to see if

Officials with the Department of Public Health posted the notices earlier this week instructing individuals camped on Division to vacate the area between 11th Street and South Van Ness Avenue, public health director Barbara Garcia said. The area is "insanitary due to accumulation of garbage, human feces, hypodermic needles, urine odors and other insanitary conditions, and it is hereby declared as a public nuisance."

Some city officials opposed the relocation.

Supervisor Jane Kim says what's happening at Division Street is pushing people into other areas. She also wanted to remind people that this is a problem for the most vulnerable: More than 2,300 of the homeless in San Francisco are children. Kim calls this a moral and ethical dilemma.

Supervisor David Campos has condemned the decision, calling it "inhumane" in a statement, and the people who have to live this reality can find no other word to describe it.

Many who live on the streets agree.

"It's kinda inhumane if you think about it," said John White, who says he's lived on the streets of San Francisco since 1989. "We don't have choice. "They're just gonna come and throw us out anyway ... There's nothing we can do. We don't have no voice."

Mayor Ed Lee is touting a new homeless facility at Pier 80, three miles away, but many of the 150 beds there remain empty. Why? "They take our stuff, put it into container and I won't have access to stuff. That's basically like being in jail," White said.

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