The City of Sausalito will be in for resistance when it attempts to move the homeless from Dunphy Park to Marinship Park.
One of the organizers of the homeless in Sausalito, Robbie Powelson, said some of the homeless in Dunphy park are preparing “to make a stand” against the move.
Although some in Dunphy Park will make the move, Powelson some others will stay and opposed being put into an “internment camp”. He said what Sausalito is doing is “inhumane and wrong.”
Last Friday (June 25), the City of Sausalito let the occupants of the Dunphy Park encampment know that they must go to Marinship Park this week.
Marinship Park is about a mile from the current encampment. It is the designated transitional site for the homeless in Sausalito. Campers in Dunphy Park must also move all their belongings.
The city called it’s approach “safe, compassionate, and respectful.” The move has also been sanctioned in federal court.
“The City of Sausalito is committed to providing a safe and appropriate transitional camping location for individuals who have no other option for sleeping indoors,” said Mayor Jill Hoffman. “At the same time, members of the City Council and City staff remain focused on identifying and pursuing all available avenues to meet the longstanding needs of inadequately housed populations. Our efforts include building on Sausalito’s Safe Harbor Program of our Waterfront Management Plan, as well as collaborating with Marin County and other Richardson Bay Regional Agency members in initiating new programs aimed at creating both temporary and longer-term housing.”
Mayor Hoffman emphasized that homelessness cannot be tackled by any one city and requires collaboration among municipalities and the County of Marin Department of Health and Human Services. “Members of the Sausalito City Council and our City staff are collaborating with other elected officials, as well as staff from Marin County and other cities across the county, to create opportunities and implement solutions,” she said. In addition to other efforts to manage the encampment, the City recently committed up to $40,000 to support a countywide initiative to find permanent housing for people who have no options for overnight sleeping. The funding will come from $1.69 million in federal aid the City expects to receive under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and will facilitate the hiring of additional case managers for the initiative. Marin County cities, as well as the county, are funding the effort on levels proportional to the amount of ARP funds received. The posting of a 72-hour Notice to Vacate at Dunphy Park today is in accordance with a City resolution specifically allowing a designated portion of Marinship Park to be utilized for transitional overnight rest for individuals who have no option of sleeping indoors. The notice also aligns with a May 26 ruling by the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, that determined the move would be safely accomplished.
The City initially designated Marinship Park as a transitional camping location because its larger size is better able to support campers (the Dunphy Park encampment encroaches on private property), it has permanent restroom facilities, and twice weekly it is the location of mobile showers and other support services provided by the Downtown Streets Team, a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness. In recent weeks, City staff has further prepared Marinship Park by chalking off camp sites in the grassy field, cleaning and improving the bathroom facilities, and installing portable toilets, a handwashing station, garbage receptacles, and a privacy fence, among other accommodations. A portion of the former site of the Dunphy Park encampment will be converted to a staging area for a construction project to remove a dirt pile adjacent to the site. The approximately 3,300 cubic yards of soil resulted from a park improvement project completed in September 2020, and its removal is required by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Construction work is scheduled to begin soon. Several individuals who had been camping at Dunphy Park have already set up at Marinship Park. The City has retained Urban Alchemy, a nonprofit community support group, to manage the relocation and provide individual moving assistance to the occupants of the encampment. In recent months, alternate housing has been found for a handful of encampment occupants thanks to collaboration among the City of Sausalito, Marin County Health and Human Services, and the Downtown Streets Team. The Dunphy Park encampment originated last December when one camper set up a tent. Today, the encampment has about 44 tents, with some being used for storage, and approximately 35 occupants, although the population varies each day. The majority of camp occupants are situated on private property abutting Dunphy Park. The owner of the property has requested the City to remove anyone trespassing on its property concurrent with the relocation of the Dunphy Park encampment.