Residents of a South Berkeley homeless encampment, known as the “Here There” encampment, have now relocated to Old City Hall after a judge’s ruling allowed for their eviction by BART.
On Oct. 21, BART Police Department issued 72-hour eviction notices for the encampment. Residents were able to temporarily postpone their eviction after a hearing with U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup, but after a second hearing Oct. 31, Alsup ruled that BART would be allowed to evict the encampment.
Eviction notices went back up Nov. 1, requiring that residents vacate the area within 72 hours. On Friday, residents held a “farewell party,” gathering their belongings and relocating to their current location at Old City Hall.
According to Stacey Hill, a resident of the encampment at Old City Hall, there are still a few members stationed at the original “Here There” location, as well as a few other residents who have moved to a different location.
On Saturday, resident Jake Atkinson said Berkeley Police Department Lt. Andrew Rateaver informed members of the encampment at Old City Hall that they would not be allowed to stay overnight. Residents, however, remained in the location, and they said they did not experience any disturbances that night and were not forced to leave.
The encampment, organized by homeless activist group First They Came for the Homeless, have set up camp in front of Old City Hall at various times over the past few years before moving over to the “Here There” encampment early this year. In December 2016, they were disbanded from Old City Hall after city staff informed residents that the encampment violated Berkeley municipal code.
Rateaver stated in an email that lodging on public property without permission is not legal, but he added that he does not know if the current encampment at Old City Hall will be disbanded in the near future.