Campers affiliated with the organization First They Came for the Homeless started moving to the median strip of Shattuck Place near the Safeway store in North Berkeley on Christmas Eve.
BERKELEY — Some homeless people evicted by police from an Adeline Street median have pitched camp anew, this time on the edge of the Gourmet Ghetto.
The campers, many of them affiliated with the group First They Came for the Homeless, started moving to the median strip of Shattuck Place near the Safeway store in North Berkeley on Christmas Eve. They were among a larger group evicted before dawn Dec. 21 from the grassy median of Adeline Street between Oregon and Russell streets near the Berkeley Bowl.
The Shattuck Place campers say they are there partly to protest the way Berkeley treats homeless people.
“We want to stop the criminalization of poverty and homelessness,” one, Clark Sullivan, said during an interview on Christmas Day.
City officials have said they are providing alternatives to encampments. On Dec. 14, the city activated its Emergency Operations Center and continued it at least through Dec. 22. During the activation, Berkeley doubled its storm shelter capacity, from 65 to 130, city spokesman Matthai Chakko said. Additionally, there are 140 shelter spaces, funded by the city through community agencies, he said.
The city has published a list of Homeless Emergency Services that include daytime respite and meals, alcohol and other drugs programs, restrooms, showers and meal services.
There are two city winter shelters, one on Second Street, the other on Park Street. Winter shelter information is available here.
On Christmas Day, at the new Shattuck Place camp, Mike Lee of First They Came for the Homeless said the city shelters are inhospitable and dangerous, and that he and other community volunteers have offered to help the city “construct a shelter system that people can use, and that they will use.”
City spokespersons have not been available for comment over the holiday period.