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Judge allows Berkeley to sweep 8th and Harrison homeless encampment with conditions

Judge OKs clearing of Berkeley homeless encampment
Judge OKs clearing of Berkeley homeless encampment 03:11

BERKELEY – A judge has taken away the temporary restraining order that prevented the city of Berkeley from sweeping a homeless encampment.

Yesica Prado lives in the encampment at 8th and Harrison. She is one of several people who sued the city of Berkeley to stop them from sweeping the encampment.

Prado and several other plaintiffs originally sued the city earlier this month after officials posted notices over Labor Day weekend saying people in the encampment would have just days to leave, before the city came in to sweep the area.

While their lawsuit successfully delayed that sweep, a judge ruled this week the city would be allowed to sweep the camp. The sweep can take place as long as they provided a long list of services to those impacted including temporary housing, storage for personal items and allow people to come back to the site when the sweep is over.

Councilwoman Rashi Kesarwani represents the district 8th and Harrison is located in. Kesarwani told KPIX that she is happy with the judge's ruling.

"I appreciate the judge's ruling because we have significant health and safety hazards at the encampment located at Harrison and 8th Street. We have raw sewage, spoiled food that is attracting rats and risking the spread of disease to individuals," said Kesarwani.

It's unclear when exactly the city will move forward with the sweep. According to the judge's ruling, officials have to give those living in the encampment at least 72 hours' notice.

Prado told KPIX that many people in the encampment are nervous about when it'll happen.

"Some people are concerned because the abatement is still going to happen. So people are just trying to make sure that they can store some of their property and reduce it to the limitations that the city is saying which 3' by 3', which is just like a little square where you're standing," she said.

Not all those living in the encampment will be forced to leave during the sweep. It's only those who live on a specific block of Harrison.

Prado is among those who will not have to leave, but she's still worried for those who do.

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