The encampments-related blockade Friday at the City’s Public Works facility has prompted a clearer description of the city’s procesess taken before an encampment is dismantled. A week ago the Bay Observer sent a message to city officials as follows: Can you clear up the conflicting statements about encampment removal? The encampment supporters say the evictees are not offered shelter and city staff say they are. Could you perhaps outline the procedure that is followed prior to the actual removal of the encampment?
While we did not receive a direct response the city issued a news release Friday that shed more light on the procedures that are followed.
The statement reads:
With respect to available shelter space and where individuals are going, the Housing Services’ Housing Focused Street Outreach Team connects with unsheltered individuals, regardless of their circumstances, to assess their immediate individual needs and housing preferences and available supports in the community. The team completes common consent and intake forms for individuals not yet on the City’s By-Name List (BNL), supports with benefit applications, unit viewings, harm reduction supplies, connections and referrals to available shelter/hotels and other community programs.
Consistent with Housing Services Street Outreach approach, since the lifting of the injunction on November 2, 2021, 40 individuals (including single men, women, and couples) from encampments were referred to available spaces in shelters/hotels. As part of their outreach staff ensure there is a warm referral meaning there is confirmation of available space and transportation assistance offered at time of referral to shelter/hotel supports.
To date, 12 individuals/couples accepted the shelter spaces that were offered. At times, individuals may decline an offer of shelter initially or not arrive at the shelter for different reasons. Outreach staff remain engaged with these individuals and continue their outreach activities and offers of support with shelter, referral to community supports, and developing housing plans.
The City acknowledges that challenges remain with regards to access to shelter spaces for women and couples. Housing Services continues to monitor shelter capacity and enact plans to ensure the safe operation of spaces and maximize capacity within the homelessness system– in particular the women’s system.
An encampment site is only scheduled to be cleared once everyone at that location has been assessed, once everyone has been offered safe and appropriate indoor space, when available; and notice has been provided to give people time and help to collect personal belongings.