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APEC's lingering impacts felt in San Francisco

The APEC summit is officially over, but some in San Francisco said Saturday its impacts — especially lingering road closures and barricades — are still being felt across the city.

A few roads around the Moscone Center were still closed as workers moved out equipment and materials used during APEC. The city said on Saturday that it expects all roads, sidewalks, parking garages, and Muni services to be returned to normal by Monday morning.

For now, San Francisco drivers should be prepared for potential traffic and delays near South of Market. 

People visiting the city said that, overall, the city felt cleaner and they noticed fewer encampments. 

“I hope they can maintain this,” said Oakland resident Carlos Gonzalez who was visiting San Francisco on Saturday. “Do we need world leaders like Xi Jinping and everybody to come clean this space?”

“It’s a beautiful city, it’s so well known [around] the whole world, so maybe we should make it more inviting and feel secure so we can come here all the time and enjoy,” said Arlene Gaspar of Antioch who was also visiting San Francisco on Saturday.

In an interview earlier this week with NBC Bay Area, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said that her hope is to continue the momentum to keep the city clean.

“It’s a very expensive endeavor, but we have been working on the progress in San Francisco for so long,” Breed told us.

She noted that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the city clarity about what constitutes whether a person is “involuntarily homeless.”

“We’ve been able to get people housed, and getting more people off the streets means we’re able to keep the streets a lot cleaner than we have before,” Breed noted.

“As long as we’re able to continue to do the work that we have been doing to get people housed, to make sure that dealers and users are not impacting our streets in the way they have been with the help we’ve been getting from our federal government, we believe we can maintain this in the parts of the communities that have unfortunately suffered for far too long,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Cameron Hill, who is experiencing homelessness in San Francisco, said that during APEC it was very difficult for him to find a place to sleep. Hill said that people were continually asking him to move elsewhere.

“We didn’t really have much of a choice of where we were supposed to go, because every time we’d go somewhere we were told to leave the next minute, you know?” Hill said.

Now that APEC is over, Hill said it has been a bit easier to find a spot to rest or sleep. Ahead of future major events in the city, he would like to see a different kind of outreach.

“House us,” Hill said, “If they could get us housing as quickly as possible, get us out of the way that way — because at least that way we’d be inside warm instead of outside in the cold.”

While the city said it did not set up any new shelters because of APEC, leaders have been actively working to provide shelter for those who want it. The city recently opened its annual Interfaith and Winter Shelter program for the season and also opened a new permanent supportive housing facility. The city has to follow a federal injunction that limits its ability to remove people from sidewalks and streets.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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