Coalition on Homelessness et al v. San Francisco: City Emboldened to Continue Sweeps Despite Injunction

Counter rally outside Browning Courthouse in San Francisco on August 23, 2023

Mayor London Breed announced that the City plans to resume enforcing laws governing homelessness in San Francisco in the latest development in a lawsuit against San Francisco for how it conducts operations on street homeless encampments

In a Medium post on September 25, Mayor Breed said that a district court order from last December has prevented the City from enforcing several of its homelessness ordinances—while allowing street cleaning and clearing blocked sidewalks—but lawyers for the Coalition on Homelessness and seven unhoused plaintiffs dispute that assertion.


Coalition on Homelessness et al v. San Francisco: One Week, Two Court Dates

Counter rally outside Browning Courthouse in San Francisco on August 23, 2023

A lawsuit over San Francisco’s sweeps of homeless encampments continued as two separate hearings were held last week. 

Those hearings may end up being a prelude to more action in court if the lawsuit comes to trial. Along with seven unhoused plaintiffs, the homeless advocacy organization Coalition on Homelessness—which also publishes Street Sheet—accused City workers of violating unhoused residents’ rights and destroying their property while clearing camps off the streets.

On August 23,


Coalition on Homelessness et al v. San Francisco: City Balks on Settlement Offer

A tent is in the center of the frame. In front of it is what looks like a white dollhouse, laying flat on the ground. The image is in Black and White

The Coalition on Homelessness offered to settle its lawsuit against San Francisco for its illegal practices of sweeping unhoused people off sidewalks. The City rejected the offer.

In a Thursday letter to City Attorney David Chiu, Mayor London Breed and others, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and the American Civil Liberties Union Northern California said that both sides could work together toward a shared goal of tackling the dual problems of street homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. 


Push To Save East Bay’s Street Spirit Underway

The campaign to resurrect Street Spirit went into full swing with a benefit attracting over 100 people to the Tamarack restaurant in Oakland on July 15.

The event raised over $8,200, Street Spirit editor-in-chief Alastair Boone announced on Instagram. She told a panel audience that her goal is to raise $250,000, which would pay for printing, paying staff and covering other expenses for one year after the relaunch. 

The Berkeley-based newspaper covering homelessness in the East Bay announced in May that its publisher,


Seeking a Shelter Bed in San Francisco? Here’s How You Can Get on the City’s Waitlist.

After a three-year suspension prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the shelter reservation waitlist for single adults has been reactivated as of July 5, but with changes, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) announced earlier this month.

People wanting to refer themselves to a 90-day shelter reservation may call the Homeless Outreach Team at (628) 652-8000 to speak to a live 311 agent, HSH communications director Emily Cohen told the Homelessness Oversight Commision on July 6.


Lose Your ID, Lose Your Identity

Sample IDs for federal-compliant Real ID (left) and limited ID

In 2019, when I was homeless, I lost my ID. I retraced my steps to the stores where I knew I had taken it out when I fished for store cards and cash in my pouch. No luck—it wasn’t at any of them. 

That meant I had to undergo the rigmarole of replacing my ID. At least I still had my Social Security card, knew where I kept my birth certificate and had access to the paperwork waiving the fee to unhoused California residents—which is not always true for many people experiencing homelessness.


These Researchers Lived Through Homelessness. Now, They’ve Analyzed It. 

Let This Radicalize You

The latest study of unhoused Californians made headlines, even though its findings are already considered common knowledge among people engaged with the issue. However, what was unusual about the research team investigating homelessness in California is that the team are formerly or currently unhoused residents of the Golden State—and similar groups are emerging around the state. 

Call them lived experience boards, lived expertise boards or community advisory boards—bodies with formerly and presently unhoused folk are becoming commonplace in nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies,


Stopping Sweeps Saves Lives, Research Shows

A tent is in the center of the frame. In front of it is what looks like a white dollhouse, laying flat on the ground. The image is in Black and White

by TJ Johnston 

For years, the mantra for advocates of unhoused people has been “sweeps kill.” Now, their tagline has science and hard numbers to back it up.

In a study focused on 23 U.S. cities including San Francisco, researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and several other academic institutions determined that unsheltered people who inject drugs and who are repeatedly forced out of street encampments are likely to suffer higher illness and death rates than their peers who stay put.


Hotel Whitcomb, the Last Resort in SF’s Homeless Hotel Program, is Closing

The program accommodating unhoused San Franciscans during the COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled to end in mid-December with the shuttering of the Hotel Whitcomb, according to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH).

The Whitcomb has become the last remaining safe harbor for homeless people in its final days of participating in the shelter-in-place (SIP) hotel program. Since the program began during the pandemic’s early days in April 2020, the Whitcomb has been one of 25 sites that provide a place to stay for people who would otherwise have no roof over their heads at the onset of a global public health emergency.


Stopping Sweeps Can End the Cycle of Trauma. This Clinical Social Worker Tells Us How.

A woman sits in an office in front of two signs protesting encampment sweeps.

With encampment sweeps in San Francisco becoming as common a sight as street dwellings themselves, some things are easily observed: large Public Works trucks pulling up, police officers enforcing the operations and unhoused residents scrambling to hold onto what’s left of their possessions that isn’t already thrown in the trucks. 

Video still of Diana Valentine by Jin Zhu

What’s less visible are the traumatic effects unsheltered San Franciscans suffer long after the streets are cleared of sidewalk habitation.