The City of Sausalito was so desperate to remove 30 homeless people from its Marinship Park that it recently awarded each person $18,000 to leave.
City officials declared a state of emergency over the homeless camp that occupied the field and the tennis courts at the park, according to KRON4.
The city closed the park, cleared everyone out, and is planning to clean it up. But the City of Sausalito reached a settlement with a group representing the encampment, the Sausalito Homeless Union, agreeing to pay each qualifying camper a one-time $18,000 stipend to find alternative housing elsewhere, according to San Francisco news site SFist.com.
The Sausalito Homeless Union will distribute the funds, and provide a monthly accounting of their use to the city.
Many of the homeless people in Marinship Park had been living in the city’s Dunphy Park from which they were evicted last summer.
If all 30 homeless people qualify for the grants, it will cost the city $540,000. But officials said the encampment has already cost $1.5 million, including legal fees, sanitation, and management.
The settlement came after the homeless union sued the city regarding where the tent-dwellers were permitted to encamp, Sfist.com reported.
The homeless had been forced to remain in a fenced, sanctioned area on the tennis courts since February 2021, and the city was ticketing residents who tried camping outside of that area.
A nonprofit group, Urban Alchemy, managed several of San Francisco’s sanctioned tent camps, and was managing the site, with residents making complaints that the group’s staff had been engaging in drug use and sexual harassment.
Before the park and tennis courts can be returned to the public for use, they must be cleaned and tested for public-health hazards.