S.F. spending $650K a year on shopping carts

Monday October 22, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco is spending $650,000 a year to deal with shopping carts left in public places, mostly by the homeless. 

The city collects, cleans and stores the carts. And it also keeps most of the confiscated possessions for months to protect itself from lawsuits, as many homeless people have challenged the city in recent years about missing belongings. 

Belongings are kept for at least 90 days, but only one percent of them are ever claimed. The carts are taken to a city yard off Cesar Chavez Street near Interstate 280. 

There, city workers typically pick through hazardous materials such as syringes, crack pipes, bottles of urine and clothing covered with bodily secretions.