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SF Supervisor Fears Booming Tent Cities Could Become New Homeless 'Policy'

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- San Francisco is readying a 10-thousand-square-foot warehouse as a temporary shelter for about 150 homeless people, many of whom have moved their tents and possessions to a sprawling encampment in the the lower Potrero Hill neighborhood.

Residents in the area think the homeless have crowded into their neighborhood because the city pushed them away from Market Street and Super Bowl City.

"This is the most explosive tent city homeless encampment I have ever seen," a man named Greg, who preferred not to give his last name, told KPIX.


San Francisco supervisor Scott Weiner is troubled by the development.

"It's not safe. It's not healthy for the neighborhoods or the occupants," Weiner told Phil Matier in an interview Sunday on KPIX.

The city's alternative to the tent cities -- a converted warehouse at Pier 80 that will provide hygiene kits and beds -- should help but it won't be open until mid-week.

"My concern is we're going to get so used to these tents that inertia will set in and we'll have de facto tents as housing policy," Weiner said Sunday.

There's another big problem -- many tent dwellers say they won't move.

"It's too far out, I don't think so. Not from here. These people here will not go there," a homeless man named Rolf Stagg predicted.

Weiner says that's an attitude which can't be tolerated.

"The tents can't stay there if there is shelter available for people. It's illegal to put a tent up and block a public sidewalk," he said.

Another San Francisco supervisor, Malia Cohen, agrees the tents are an emergency and is calling for a "federal response."

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