SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday, May 27, the homeless sleeping sites planned to open on Friday, May 29, in the middle Haight neighborhood have been met with threat of a lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday, May 26.
A group known as “Concerned Citizens of the Haight” said they plan to sue the city of San Francisco about the site. The group has come out publicly against the campsite saying it is concerned about the location since it will be in the middle of a business district.
“Concerned Citizens of the Haight,” is an unincorporated nonprofit organization of residents, property owners, and merchants in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
Harmett Dhillon, the San Francisco attorney representing the group, issued a retweet about their issue with San Francisco at 7:11 p.m. on May 27. The post stated, “Safe Healthy Haight is focused on ensuring that San Francisco leadership is responsible and transparent in its oversight of the proposed sleeping site; which has not been the case to date.”
In a phone interview with the San Francisco News, Dhillon stated, “The city of San Francisco is ignoring its own laws of common nuisance, due process in equal protection in citing [sic] the homeless facility in the middle of a district that’s not suited for and not providing the types of sanitation and the services that they’re required to provide homeless people.”
The group of merchants wants the city of San Francisco to accommodate their duties to everybody instead of just the homeless.
“They’re hundreds of people who live in that immediate vicinity who have degrees of different types of concerns,” said Dhillon. “The city should not ignore the existing laws that deal with this problem. There are many places in San Francisco that are more suitable, that have running water, that have space, that are not next to a school or grocery store where the encampment could be placed.”
On May 15, Mayor London Breed announced that there will be an opening for the homeless to have a place to sleep at the old McDonald’s at Haight and Stanyan. Lines were being made for the sleep site.
According to city officials, the Haight location will have tents, security throughout the day and night, multiple portable toilets, and a few hand-washing stations.
While Concerned Citizens believes that it is unsafe to have the campsite due to the lack of distance between the homeless and residents of the area, not everyone is against the decision.
Sunshine Powers, the operator of the tie dye shop Love, is in favor of the campsite. Powers has witnessed homeless individuals near her shop, and some were children.
The camp site is still scheduled to open on Friday. The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office indicated it will review the lawsuit.