Homeless Make Home in Sunset Cliffs Cave

Eroded cliffs are creating a new problem for Ocean Beach neighbors who say homeless individuals are turning a newly formed cave into their makeshift shelter.

Two people currently living in the cave-like structure, formed by erosion, told NBC 7 Wednesday that they felt safe despite what geologists warn.

“It’s going to collapse and kill somebody,” said a Sunset Cliffs neighbor who wished to remain anonymous.

Neighbors worry a cave off the cliffs near Orchard Avenue and Cable Street has become a haven for the homeless. They are being blamed for break-ins throughout the area, according to the neighbor.

But the two men who live in the cave said they have nowhere else to go.

“A lot of us are just really respectful of the area. We don't want to cause any problems so we're not going to leave any messes,” said one of the men, who did not give his name.

Geologist Pat Abbott said the sand erodes easily in that area, and the concrete used to armor it isn't enough to stop it. With the ocean beating against the rock, the cliff will eventually erode, he warned.

The city said they will revisit the site Thursday and recommend appropriate action for closing access to this cave, as neighbors struggle to find a solution to a problem they say won't go away.

“We just have to be accepting of, you know, the kind of people that come through and try and give them alternative things to do or places to go, food to eat, to sleep, so they aren't moving into our bushes or our cliffs," said Sunset Cliffs resident Adam Smith.

Lifeguards said they don’t typically patrol this area overnight. They’re mainly concerned with what happens on the water. But they said if they do see people inhabiting the cave, they will issue citations.

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