Coming Down To The Wire: San Francisco Votes On ‘Housing Not Tents’ Homelessness Measure

San Francisco — Known for the Golden State Warriors, the best bread on the west coast, and homeless encampments as far as the eye can see. However, the last part might change now that the ‘Housing Not Tents’ ballot is before our board of supervisors. What does it mean, though?

On Tuesday, Supervisor Mark Farrell submitted a “Housing Not Tents” measure for the November ballot that will make it easier for public officials to clear camps from the streets. This entails under bridges, on sidewalks, and anywhere that a tent is laid ground.

“The laws that are on the books are not directly applicable to our tent encampments right now,” said Farrell, whose District 2 includes Pacific Heights, Sea Cliff and the Marina. “They are used — our police code is used, and blocking the right-of-way laws are used — to really enforce the encampments and make sure they don’t grow, but this is something that we wanted to make very specific.”

This ballot specifically gives the encampment or person 24-hours to clear out and move their belongings, “The reality is nobody is getting healthier, nobody is getting better,” he said. Though it provides the person or resident in question a specific shelter or housing opportunities to the people living there. The city could seize the personal property of people living in camps and also require officials to store camp residents’ belongings for 90 days after a removal.

But others have strong disagreements towards the ballot and the politics behind it, “There are not enough shelter beds for all the people living in encampments,” Supervisor John Avalos told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We all know it. So why this legislation? It’s a fallacy, and they are just politicizing the ballot in a desperate move to give moderates some issue to campaign on in November.”

Currently, the city has a rough count of 6,700 homeless residents with more grossing amounts undocumented.

Tents set up under the 101 offramp at Division and Folsom Streets.


Written by Anthony Rogers — Images sourced from KQED and The SF Chronicle.