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Members of Homes Not Jails hang banners at a privately owned vacant duplex on San Jose Street in the Mission District. Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

As they marched, they chanted “Whose city? Our city.”  Talk about a sense of entitlement.

In case some have forgotten, a property owner cannot be forced into donating his property to the homeless, not by forceful entry, use of illegal tactics or otherwise.

Unfortunately, because of those in power, organizations such as Homes Not Jails now feel emboldened and a sense of entitlement that they interpret as the right to ride rough shod over the rest of us.

It is shameful that this group feels that they have the right to invade someone’s private property as they did this past weekend in San Francisco.  Even more shameful is the fact that law enforcement just stood by allowing it to happen.

Regardless of whether the property is vacant or not, it is up to the property owner to do what he or she wants with their property.  No one else can dictate that, no one else should.  Furthermore, property owners should not have to explain their rationing for doing that which he/she is legally entitled. This is the United States of America and homeowners, contrary to the belief of others, have rights too.

SF Chronicle

“A group of homeless people and housing activists took over a privately owned Mission District duplex on Sunday in what served as the climax of a protest designed to promote use of San Francisco’s vacant buildings as shelters for the needy.

But the owner of the property – who was targeted over his eviction of a tenant – said the demonstration was nothing more than breaking and entering.

‘It’s not actually vacant. I use it for my own personal uses,’ Ara Tehlirian of Daly City said in an interview, adding that he was in contact with the San Francisco Police Department. ‘I know nothing other than my property was apparently broken into.’

The takeover epitomized the tensions between property owners and tenant activists that have flared for decades in the city, and sometimes tip into outright hostilities near the peaks and troughs of the market cycle.

This time, more than fifty people marched in the rain through the Mission District, hoisting picket signs that read ‘House keys not handcuffs’ and chanting ‘Whose city? Our city.’ The action was organized by Homes Not Jails, a 20-year-old group affiliated with the San Francisco Tenants Union.

By the time the tail of the procession reached the duplex on the 500 block of San Jose Street, at least eight people were inside, holding banners from second-story windows. It wasn’t clear how they gained entry, and Ted Gullicksen, leader of the tenant organization, declined to provide details.

More than a dozen police officers were on hand, most standing on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Asked earlier whether they would take action if protesters occupied the property, officers declined to comment. One said, ‘We’ll see….”


Squatters in a group called Homes Not Jails retrieve food from supporters at a vacant home on San Jose Street on Sunday in San Francisco. Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

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