ActivismSan Francisco

With DPW Seizing Homeless Peoples’ Belongings, Activists Are Fighting Back

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Photo of homeless sweeps by Santiago Mejia for El Tecolote

Earlier this month 48 Hills reported on heartbreaking new videos detailing how the cops and the Department of Public Works are throwing away the personal belongings of San Francisco’s homeless population. This often includes such important items as medication, family photos, mementos from dead loved ones, and survival gear like sleeping bags and tents. Not only is this reprehensible, it’s also in violation of the rules.

In response to this, the Coalition on Homelessness and Stolen Belonging are teaming up for a public reclamation to support homeless residents robbed by the city. It’s all going down on Saturday 6/22, from 1:30-3:30pm, at DPW Operations Yard back gate at the intersection of Kansas and Marin, where one is supposed to ask the guard to retrieve their confiscated belongings. Here is the information from the FB invite:

Stolen Belonging – A Public Reclamation at DPW Operations Yard Food, Drinks, Music, Art and Collective Action


Join us, houseless residents, housing justice advocates, human rights lawyers and ‘housies’ who want to hold the city accountable for the ongoing theft and violence against those who currently have no roof. This creative action/event will feature art and written stories gathered by our team over the last 7 months, spoken word, and music by Brass Liberation Orchestra. Our main initiative, however, will be supporting and witnessing unhoused folks in their efforts to retrieve possessions taken in the sweeps, which, as SF city policy states, should be bagged, tagged and stored at the DPW yard for 90 days. In the majority of cases, the belongings should have never been taken in the first place.

*We are asking housed folks to bring survival gear or supplies to donate since we know the city has likely trashed or stolen their things in violation of human and constitutional rights, not to mention SF’s own policies. See this page for a list of requested items and please leave a comment in this event page for what you commit to bringing (include quantity and description).

There will be some food and drinks, though priority will be given to houseless folks. Feel free to bring snacks to share! Please let your homeless neighbors know about this event and inform them that our team, human rights lawyers and advocates will be on site to record their story of what’s been taken and the impact its had on them.

This is a kid and family friendly event.

For more information on the Stolen Belonging Project go here.
To get involved with the Coalition on Homelessness go here.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.