Sherman R. Frederick
Sausalito Marin Scope
There’s big trouble at Sausalito’s court-sanctioned “Tent City” at Marinship Park.
After the heavy rains in late October, the enclosure became foul smelling and several people said they fell ill. It turned out that a high water table contained fecal material, which the homeless say made the park dangerous. However, there is no provable link as of yet to ailments in “Tent City” and a failure on the city’s part to providing a reasonably healthy facility.
A hearing is set for Dec. 9 in federal court.
A few campers moved out and set up camp in Dunphy Park, which the city said was illegal as the only federal court sanctioned place for the homeless to spend the night in Sausalito is Marinship park.
The city sent in its own people to test the waters and decided to expand the area in Marinship Park that is designated for the “Tent City.” The city issued a press release on Friday that said: “The additional space immediately provides an alternate sleeping area for persons utilizing the encampment. The space has been made available in response to concerns raised by encampment members regarding the condition of the encampment following the recent storms.”
The expanded area provides a new place for “encampment members” to stay.
“It is also the City’s intention to close and clear the existing encampment site on the grassy area of Marinship Park in order to conduct further analysis and investigation of concerns raised by members of the encampment.”
“Importantly,” the city said in a press release, “the City continues to promote, coordinate, and offer to place persons needing overnight shelter in seven beds that it has secured at the New Beginnings Center in Novato, four beds for men and three beds for women. Also, the City is partnering with Marin County officials on a grant proposal to fund an innovative program to accelerate housing solutions for those without shelter.
Advocates for the homeless had the water tested earlier last week and told Marinscope that and it came back filthy with fecal matter. The city later tested the water, but did not divulge the results.
Mayor Jill Hoffman said because of ongoing litigation she cannot answer questions from journalists about the current site and whether it is suitable for people to live there.
Homeless advocate Robbie Powelson said the city’s response has been “confusing.”
The Marinship health questions come at a time in which the city ended its relationship with the Marin County Cooperation Team, a nonprofit providing resources and services to the homeless at Marinship.
The city remained mum on the ending of that contract, but said the city is talking with an outfit called Urban Alchemy to perform an undisclosed bit of work for the city and its homeless community. Urban Alchemy also does work for the city of San Francisco.
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