SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A legal battle underscoring San Francisco’s challenges and frustrations over how to handle its unsheltered population is heating up.

City Attorney David Chiu announced that he will appeal Judge Donna Ryu’s order in Coalition on Homelessness v. City and County of San Francisco to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Judge Ryu made a ruling on December 23 barring the city from enforcing anti-camping rules on public property against anyone who is “involuntarily homeless.”

The City Attorney’s Office asked the judge to clarify who qualifies as “involuntarily homeless” among 8,000 people living on the streets.

Chiu said, “There are people living on our streets who refuse shelter, and there are those who have secured a shelter bed but still choose to sleep on the streets. It is unreasonable to tell the city that it is powerless to do anything in those situations. We tried to seek clarity on the scope of this injunction, but the court declined to provide that. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to appeal this decision.”

Judge Ryu’s preliminary injunction order blocks San Francisco police from enforcing laws prohibiting camping, sitting, lying, and sleeping on public property — such as a sidewalk — as long as the number of people experiencing homelessness exceeds the number of available shelter beds.

Chiu said, “The court’s order is unnecessarily broad and has put the city in an impossible situation. It would take years and an additional $1.45 billion to build the required shelter beds.”

The lack of clarity puts the city in a difficult situation, “especially in navigating interactions with those who refuse shelter or those who have shelter beds but choose to also maintain tents on the street,” the City Attorney’s Office wrote.

One incident involving an unsheltered person who refused to move from a public sidewalk happened on January 9. The incident, which involved a frustrated San Francisco art gallery owner wielding a water hose, sparked national news headlines and public outrage.

Art gallery owner Shannon Collier Gwin was caught on camera spraying a homeless woman with a water while she was sitting on a Montgomery Street sidewalk near Gwin’s gallery.

“Move! Move! Move!” Gwin ordered the woman. “Are you gonna move?”

Gwin, 71, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had previously called police, as well as social services. He said his frustrations grew when the woman remained on the sidewalk for weeks, at times acting belligerent.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin described the hose spraying incident as “outrageous.” Peskin said his office was “well acquainted” with the victim and had been trying to get her support from the San Francisco Department of Public Health for several months.

Gwin was arrested on January 18 and charged with battery for the hose incident. District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said, “The alleged battery of an unhoused member of our community is completely unacceptable. Mr. Gwin will face appropriate consequences for his actions.”

The San Francisco Street Crisis Response Team met with the woman and offered her multiple service options. She was reportedly transported to a hospital.