Community

Homeless encampment moved from Civic Center steps to corner across from Berkeley High School

Mike Zint, of First They Came for the Homeless, sits in a tent on the lawn at City Hall after an encampment was removed from the steps, in Berkeley, on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Photo: David Yee ©2016
Mike Zint, of First They Came for the Homeless, sits in a tent on the lawn at City Hall after an encampment was removed from the steps, in Berkeley, on Monday. Photo: David Yee

The homeless encampment that was removed early Friday morning from Adeline Street was moved again this morning. This time, the shift was from the steps of Berkeley’s Civic Center building on Milvia Street to the corner of Milvia and Allston Way, directly across from Berkeley High School.

At lunchtime on Monday, the homeless encampment consisted of eight tents and possessions on the small patch of grass on the northwest corner of Allston and Milvia.

The encampment on the Civic Center steps had lasted from Friday to early on Monday. Berkeley police removed the encampment at around 5 a.m.

“This is not an acceptable place to camp,” said City of Berkeley spokesperson Matthai Chakko. “We’re working with them to make sure they understand that. What we try to do with our services is get people into shelter.” 


Activists spilled what they called 'the blood of the homeless' on the Civic Center steps early on Monday morning. Photo: They Came for the Homeless
Activists spilled what they called ‘the blood of the homeless’ on the Civic Center steps early on Monday morning. Photo: They Came for the Homeless

Before the encampment was moved from the steps, the activists spilled “the blood of the homeless” on the steps as part of their protest. The steps and sidewalk were cleaned by city staff early on Monday.

At its October 25 meeting, the City Council established an ad hoc committee to look at possible locations for a sanctioned encampment, which included council members Linda Maio, Laurie Capitelli, Jesse Arreguín and Darryl Moore. The committee met with city staff, led by deputy city manager Jovan Grogan, and with some of the homeless persons involved in the encampment.

At its November 1 meeting, the ad hoc committee reported back that it did not recommend an outdoor site.

Mike Lee, who is running for Berkeley mayor and is involved in the encampment, pounded the lectern at the City Council meeting, arguing for an agreement on a new location.

“Are you willing to leave us alone until we figure out a solution,” Lee said. “We came to you in good faith, with our hand out. We didn’t ask for laundry, we didn’t ask for showers. We asked for land.”


“They wanted land for two to four years,” said Chakko. “They said they would enforce security. Creating an encampment like that is not something that the City Council was open to.”

Also on Monday, Alameda County prosecutors declined to file charges against Nanci Armstrong-Temple, a candidate for City Council in District 2, who was arrested on Friday during the dismantlement on the Adeline Street encampment.

“In the interests of justice, we declined to file charges in this matter,” said Rebecca Richardson, an assistant district attorney. “She was not arraigned.”

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