Residents in the Mission Delores neighborhood of San Francisco recently chipped in to buy boulders to prevent the homeless from camping out in front of their houses, according to several reports.
Homeowners near Clinton Park purchased nearly two dozen large rocks and placed them on the edge of the sidewalk to discourage people from camping out. Resident David Smith-Tan said he and his neighbors decided to take this action because the city was doing nothing about the problem. Vagrants were wondering into the area at night to shoot up with drugs and staying overnight. Several friends got tired of seeing the filth and the slow destruction of the area and felt they had to do something.
Jennifer Freidenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness decried the boulders, calling them “anti-homeless architecture.” She also defended the homeless camping out in front of homes and leaving used needles on the streets saying that there were approximately 1200 individuals on a waitlist for a shelter bed so they had no place to go.
A spokesman for the New York City Department of Social Services weighed in, calling the rocks “a punitive tactic” which would never happen in that city.
The homeless population in San Francisco has increased by 17% in the last two years. And yet, even with a $239 billion budget surplus, California Governor Gavin Newsom has been slow to act. On a recent visit to the state President Donald J. Trump, realizing that someone had to take action on the growing problem, said the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would issue a citation to the city concerning environmental hazards created by the homelessness.