SF hauls tons of trash, thousands of needles from homeless camps - San Francisco Chronicle
Date:  3/15/2017

Written by Matier & Ross
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A Public Works Hot Spots crew clears out a homeless encampment at 14th and Mission streets before sanitizing the sidewalk. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

With homeless camps once again sprawling across sidewalks and vacant lots, San Francisco’s Public Works director has taken it upon himself to sidestep the city’s much-publicized system of coordinated agency response and is preemptively cleaning out the most dystopian tent encampments.

What city crews are finding is startling.

In a single week, Public Works packed out 53,100 pounds of garbage and 3,295 used syringes from six encampments in the South of Market neighborhood and Mission District. That comes to about 4.3 tons of trash per site.

At a block-long encampment adjacent to the Caltrain yard on Townsend Street, which thousands of commuters and tech workers pass by daily, a Public Works “hot spot” crew found 15,000 pounds of debris, 700 needles “and a lot of rats,” agency Director Mohammed Nuru said.

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