SAN FRANCISCO, California – A building that has been vacant for the past five years in San Francisco was occupied during the late afternoon on Sunday by organizers associated with OccupySF. After a rally and march beginning at Union Square, demonstrators eventually arrived at the building with opened doors. The building located at 888 Turk St., reportedly a former mental health center, has been expropriated from the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and dubbed the SF Commune. A flyer released by organizers reads that,
We understand The Archdiocese of San Francisco and it’s subsidiary, Real Property Support Corporation have kept this space at 888 Turk St. vacant for 5 years, while those of us seeking shelter are forced to sleep outside. We will not tolerate the systems that force 7,000 San Franciscan’s to remain homeless while over 30,000 housing units sit vacant.
According to mainstream news, the Archdiocese has requested that police not take immediate action until they review the situation the next morning. Occupiers are planning to turn the empty building into a social center. A post from OccupySF reads that,
This Turk St. building is owned by the Church and the owners, therefore, pay no property tax for it. It has been vacant and unused for over five years and no services have been provided here. Further, the owners have failed to register the building as vacant, avoiding their duty to pay vacancy fees to the public coffers. The building is now occupied by a group of people willing to offer services such as food, housing, education, and community-building skills for free.
Monday, April 2
9am: Police have cordoned off the area, blocking anyone from reaching the doors of 888 Turk st.
~1:45pm: Police are raiding the occupation.
2:25pm: Growing crowd outside police line chanting, “Long live the SF Commune!”
~6:30pm: Around 50-100 people marched down to the jail to wait for arrestees to be released. Most arrestees were charged with misdemeanor trespassing. [Some arraignments are scheduled for April 10th, some are scheduled for as late as May 1st.]