Agency in protest of the closing of a homeless shelter and the mistreatment of the people who had used its services, who were callously turned out on the streets. Those people had been promised 90 day vouchers to use the services of other city homeless shelters. Instead they were locked out and left to fend for themselves on the streets of San Francisco.San Francisco, Monday, June 28-Eight people from Direct Action To Stop the cuts were arrested this afternoon for occupying the San Francisco Human Services Agency in protest over its slash and burn policy towards homeless people.
The agency, located at 170 Otis Street near Mission and Duboce streets, slashed away 59 more available beds for the homeless today by closing the Otis Homeless Shelter at 150 Otis Street, right next to the agency’s headquarters.
And the agency also burned the people who had been staying at the shelter when they came for promised assistance today. The agency had told these people to come to 150 Otis today at 4 p.m. to receive 90 day vouchers that would enable them to find shelter in other city shelters.
However, according to eyewitnesses today, when people came there at that time, they found the doors to 150 Otis locked. “They locked the doors just before 4,” one observer said. When asked if there was any further communication from the people inside, the witness replied, “No.”
Today’s action was motivated by the “utter inhumanity of the mistreatment of these people , which demands immediate attention,” said one of the occupiers, who took over Human Services’ lobby at about 3:30 this afternoon.
Besides this specific injustice, the group pointed out that other such outrages are looming in Gavin Newsom’s proposed cuts. A press release from today’s action states:
“There are 6000-15,000 people without housing in San Francisco and less than 1000 emergency shelter beds. 300 people a year die on the streets of San Francisco due to homelessness. Yet the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for the shelter system say no one will miss the 59 shelter beds when 150 Otis closes.
“This is an outright LIE, as anyone who has waited all night for a shelter bed can tell you! Poverty, homelessness and unemployment are skyrocketing due to the economic crisis, yet Mayor Newsom is cutting the budget for San Francisco’s poorest people at a time when we need these services more than ever!”
After occupying the agency for several hours, police handcuffed the members of Direct Action to Stop the Cuts, led them from the building, cited them for trespassing and released them.
The building at 150 Otis is slated for conversion to permanent supportive housing for houseless and senior veterans.
However, as Direct Action to Stop the Cuts explained, “No resources have been allocated in the mayor’s proposed budget for the coming year to replace the 59 shelter beds that are being taken off line.
“Gavin Newsom wants to reconcile the City’s budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. Emergency shelter beds, mental health services for the poor, supportive services for seniors and the disabled: these and other vital services are all dispensable, in the mayor’s view—no matter how many lives hang in the balance.”