A group of housing activists who occupied the vacant second floor of the former Sierra SRO Hotel on the corner of 20th and Mission Streets were arrested this morning at around 11 a.m.
A group called Direct Action to Stop the Cuts claimed responsibility for the occupation. It said it was calling attention to the fact that the building has been vacant while thousands of people go without shelter.
The arrest occurred without incident. Activists were escorted to a police van, chanting slogans like “The people, united, will never be divided!” and “House keys, not handcuffs!” According to police at the scene, the activists did not vandalize the building.
Police had been trying to contact the building owner since yesterday, when the activists took over the second floor of the building at 6:30 p.m. The owner was reached on Tuesday morning and promptly signed the trespassing report that allowed the arrests, as well as a citizen’s arrest form. According to a certificate of use found inside the building, it is owned by T.M. Patel and Edward Litke.
At the time of the arrest, the five individuals had occupied the building for nearly 16 hours.
“They made their point,” said Sgt. Limbert of the Mission Police Station.
Matthew Crain, one of the activists arrested, told a Mission Loc@l reporter over the phone that they were cited and released at approximately 1:20 p.m.