Photo: Olivier Bacquet/Flickr
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee has declared all homeless tent encampments to be hazardous to public safety.
The mayor’s decision comes days after police shot and killed a homeless man on Shotwell Street in the Mission District.
Outreach workers had called 911 and police arrived to find Luis Gongora waving a large kitchen knife. The police initially fired beanbag rounds at Gongora before shooting him to death. Controversy related to the shooting has arisen following the release of video footage obtained from an anonymous source that confirmed the events unfolded in under 30 seconds.
“It’s not just that people do not feel safe around the camps — they aren’t safe,” Lee told the Chronicle in an April 8th article, referring to the drug use and unsanitary conditions inside of the homeless camps.
Lee also said it is important to recognize that the police were called to the scene due to the threat of a man, possibly unstable, waving a large knife. According to the mayor, they are capable of clearing out homeless encampments without arresting anyone.
Due to its potential for a large number of occupants and location near SoMa, Lee has touted Pier 80 as the logical place to house those who must clear out of the tent cities. Currently, Pier 80 is home to a 180-bed tent acting as a temporary shelter for the evacuated homeless. As beds open up, portions of homeless previously living in the tent cities will move in.