Homeless bid farewell to Transbay Terminal

A woman huddles in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009.
August 5, 2010 11:40:46 PM PDT
A last ditch effort is underway in San Francisco to alert two distinct groups about the closing of the Transbay Terminal: commuters and the homeless who live there.

The terminal, located at Mission and 1st Streets, is going to be sealed off on Friday night to make way for construction on a new terminal. It will be demolished to make way for a modern transit hub.

In the meantime it's not just transit riders who are affected. The 1939 building has been home to the homeless for years.

"It would be warm in here most of the year. Bathrooms are here, tourists give people food, tents," Homeless Policy director Darisuh Kayhan said.

For the past few months, Kayhan has been spearheading an all out push to get people to leave.

There were once about 100 people at the terminal on average for four or more years, and now there are maybe 30 hardcore hanging on.

Outreach workers are making the rounds inside and outside the building trying to convince the resistant that the terminal is being torn down.

"It's all about compassion and a lot of understanding. We are no different from none of them," Erica McGary from the Homeless Outreach Team said.

The terminal will be fenced off Friday at midnight as part of the construction project, and all the people who live under the overpasses will also have to leave as well.

"Seems sad to see all this stuff torn down for progress," a homeless man said.

So far, she's refused the city's offers of help.

"For example, last night we had 113 vacant shelter beds. Those are available to people at night and we can bring people in addition to stabilization units, we have detox beds," Kayhan said.

"A lot of us don't want a room because it feels like being locked up," a homeless man said.

The construction on the new terminal is scheduled to last seven years. There's a temporary terminal ready to roll for riders starting Saturday and the homeless will have to take the city's help or find another option on their own.


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