It was recently reported that the city of San Francisco spent $8,700 installing large boulders under overpasses to prevent homeless people from setting up camps. There were numerous homeless encampments in the area until they were recently forced out of the area, and now the City’s government is doing everything they can to keep the camps out of the area.
Emily Cohen, a policy manager at the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing told reporters that they would be working to keep camps out of the area.
“The intention of our encampment resolution work is to resolve an encampment and work with the neighbors and the community to make sure … folks don’t move back in. That means having conversations with people who come back to the space and saying, ‘you’re not able to camp here any more — this is no longer a camping zone,” Cohen said.
Unfortunately, these moves aren’t giving people very many places to go, aside from overcrowded homeless shelters that don’t take everyone, and are often not preferred to the freedom of living on the streets.
Larry Stringer, deputy director of operations at Public Works told Mission Local that the new boulders were designed to keep the homeless out.
“We put them in there to help deter re-encampment a bit and for aesthetics, just to change it up. It’s more cost-effective than what we were doing. We were doing cleanups three or four times a week to keep garbage out,” Stringer said.
It may be true that it is more cost effective than what they were doing before, but it certainly not the best way to apply $8,000 to this issue.
Many of the people who lived in these encampments say that the boulders aren’t even that much of a deterrent.
“It’s stupid. You could still put something there, and two of us could easily move them,”encampment member Robin Walter said.
Stringer said that while there are no legal penalties for tampering with the boulders, people could get tickets for trespassing if they continue to camp under there. The rocks have just forced the homeless population to camp further down the road, and Stringer says that they will put rocks in that area as well.
Last month The Mind Unleashed reported that the city of Seattle was planning to set up razor-wire fencing to keep homeless populations from camping. Then, just this week we reported that San Francisco was using Robots scare homeless people away from encampments and report them to police.