Advocates say San Francisco is still sweeping homeless camps against court order

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Advocates for the homeless in San Francisco say the city has continued to remove unhoused people from encampments without providing shelter for them, in defiance of a federal magistrate’s order.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu issued an injunction Dec. 23 — barring San Francisco police and other officers from sweeping homeless encampments, citing their occupants for sleeping in public and seizing their belongings — while she considers a lawsuit against the city. Federal appeals courts have ruled that the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment prohibits local governments from making it a crime to sleep on a street or sidewalk when no homeless shelters are available.

But in a filing with Ryu on Friday, Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, said she saw city officers remove about six homeless people from an encampment on 17th Street, between Hampshire and Mariposa streets, during a rainstorm on Dec. 27. City employees shook tents and woke people, shouting, “You need to move!” and later admitted they did not know whether shelter spaces were available, Friedenbach said.

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