Looming is the “Homeless Lives Matter” Community Camp kickoff on July 4th 6:30PM on the sidewalk next to the main Post Office. Paul Lee loft closed “for a week” yesterday. As did meals and presumably showers, shitter, and laundry for the “not in programs” homeless. No budget yet or other clear answers. What will HUFF’s role be in this “rolling campout”? Chat, scheme, organize!
|Title:||“Homeless Lives Matter” Final Mass Meeting to Plan for Campout|
|START DATE:||Sunday June 28|
|TIME:||6:30 PM – 7:30 PM|
|In front of the main Santa Cruz Post Office on the Steps where Front St. intersects Pacific, & Mission|
|Planning logistic, publicity, and other last minute details for the July 4th CampOut to begin next Saturday.
See “”Homeless Lives Matter” Back For Fourth Meal Preparing for July 4th CampOut” at http://www.indybay.org/
Join us. Bring your energy, courage, wisdom, and friends.
Saturday Jun 27th, 2015 11:49 AM
Angry activists protesting closures, cutbacks, and laws against the homeless community held their fourth meal under the banner “Homeless Lives Matter!” They served their fourth breakfast around the corner from the Homeless Services Center, which I call the “Homeless (Lack of) Services Center” [HLOSC]. Its director, Jannan Thomas, announced cutbacks in services and shelters in May, announcing an end-of-June shut down the meals, laundry, shower, and restroom services previously available to all but now limited to those “in programs”. The shut down coincides with an escalating campaign to drive homeless people out of Santa Cruz by criminalizing sleeping, sitting, & sparechanging.
A week ago on June 18th at the same spot, more than a dozen CHP and SCPD officers threatened peaceful petitioners and food servers with trespass arrest. They declared the visible spot where two meals had been held without incident the week “a traffic hazard” and “part of [their] freeway jurisdiction”. With the Chief of Police himself on the scene, the CHP threatened confiscation of the food, tables, and literature. Activists then moved the meal tables twice. First they moved further away from the intersection, but the CHP still claimed they were “trespassing”.
Then activist Abbi Samuels, disgusted with the attack on folks serving the homeless and petitioning for saving services, declared “arrest me” and moved the table back to its original more visible (but clearly safe) location. CHP troopers then began preparations to arrest her, but two of us suggested we move the operation onto the sidewalk—which is a clear free speech zone, even though it would be crowded. We did. After huddling, the SCPD and CHP decided to back off (perhaps fearing a successful lawsuit as well as creating more of an uproar with so many armed cops going after the Food Menace).
The Sentinel’s incomplete account of the event is at http://www.santacruzsentinel.
A SUCCESSFUL MEAL THIS TIME
Flash forward a week to June 25th with two CHP officers standing near their bikes at the turnoff where the week before I and others had parked our vehicles off the road to unload food, tables, literature, etc.
This time, apprehensive of harassment and arrest, we didn’t use tables—instead transferring food to buckets and serving on top of milk crates. We did set up off to the side, but still on the “forbidden property” where we’d been told we were “trespassing” on June 18th and served from there rather than from the more congested sidewalk. This time CHPers did not interfere, but also declined to sample the fine cuisine.
We then doled out hot oatmeal with raisins as well as (reportedly) tasty potatoes and onions, whipped up by Cafe HUFF chef “Push Back” Pat Colby. Giving out fliers, holding colorful placards, and doling out the delicacies were Food Not Bombs volunteers and homeless folks from around the corner at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center from which they were being evicted.
Israel, a videographer, set up his impressive looking video camera and began what is likely to be a regular feature of the ongoing Community Campout protests—segments of a documentary for UCSC. Lauren, a graphic artist and computer impresario posted beautifully crafted signs rather than the usual scrawled and coffee-stained posters that HUFF trots out denouncing the Sleeping Ban and the Service Shut down.
Activists included first-on-the-scene Steve Pleich from the Homeless Persons Legal Assistance Project while others doled out coffee from India Joze restaurants, compliments of JumboGumbo Soupster Joe Schultz.
I distributed fliers—reproduced here—which described the latest pieces of information retrieved from the fog of confusion and concealment around the HLOSC’s budget (still withheld).
I’ll be playing interviews from this event and the previous June 18th cop jamboree on my Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides Free Radio Santa Cruz show tomorrow at 10 AM. Tune in at 101.3 FM or check in at freakradio.org . The show will be part of a longer archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/
Next General public meeting of Homeless Lives Matter is tomorrow (Sunday June 28th) at 6:30 PM on the steps of the post office.
The Campout begins on July 4th . Assemble at 6:30 PM at the same place!
Note that the description above is from my perspective as are the fliers which contain “HUFF” authorship. These are my opinions and those of some if not all the members of HUFF. Other groups may or may not agree with everything written here.
|Title:||Cafe HUFF on the Hiway: Emergency Breakfast #4|
|START DATE:||Thursday June 25|
|TIME:||10:00 AM – 11:30 AM|
|NW Corner of Hiway 1 and Hiway 9 around the corner from the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center|
|Contact Name||Robert Norse|
|Email Address||rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com|
Front and center on the HUFF agenda is the “Homeless Lives Matter” Cafe HUFF breakfast slated for Thursday 6-25 at 10 AM at the corner of hiway 9 and hiway 1. Last week, CHP and SCPD ganged up on the oatmeal cookers–we’ll see what’s on the menu for this Thursday. Updates on the City Council and Board of Supes meeting, today’s Sin Barras monthly demo against Solitary Confinement, and what the Good Times left out of the expose on Deputy Chief Steve Clark. check it out.
|Title:||Homeless Lives Matter: Building Towards Justice|
|START DATE:||Thursday June 18|
|TIME:||10:00 AM – 11:30 AM|
|Corner of Hiway 9 (River St.) and Hiway 1|
|Contact Name||Keith McHenry|
|Email Address||keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
HUFF: Lots of activist talk about the June28 CampOut coming up–which should take up a chunk of the meeting; we’ll be looking for clearer info on the Homeless (Lack of) Services Budget, the Fate of the 24 Hour Parking Ban near Coral St., and organizing for the Emergency Breakfast Thursday at Hiway 1 and 9 as well as the Project Pollinate Duck Pond Event This Saturday. Join the gang! Coffee should stimulate the proceedings!
Tuesday Jun 9th, 2015 5:06 PM
The impending closure of the Homeless Services Center, due to the withdrawal of State administered federal emergency funds, will deprive the homeless of Santa Cruz their basic human rights. The United States is not a poor, developing country, but the self-avowed richest nation on Earth. It is deemed exceptional and indispensable by our leaders. but it can’t supply necessary, minimal services such as shelter, meals, showers, toilet facilities and a secure place to store personal belongings and receive mail, to its most disadvantaged citizens, as mandated by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a founding document of the UN to which the United States is a signatory. As such, the City of Santa Cruz is in gross violation of the basic human rights of its citizens. In a civilized society an injury against one is an injury against all.
The impending closure of the Homeless Services Center (HSC), due to the withdrawal of State administered federal emergency funds, will deprive the homeless of Santa Cruz their basic human rights. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a founding document of the UN to which the United States is a signatory, states unequivocally that, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” The United States is not a poor, developing country, but the self-avowed richest nation on Earth. It is deemed exceptional and indispensable by our leaders, but it can’t supply necessary, minimal services such as shelter, meals, showers, toilet facilities and a secure place to store personal belongings and receive mail, to its most disadvantaged citizens.
While the HSC has been providing basic humans services to its clientele since 1986 it is still far from adequate and many people are turned away or otherwise go unserved. The recent denial of emergency funding to the tune of $350,00 and increases in insurance premiums and other expenses have resulted in the HSC running a structural deficit of $600,000 or approximately 18% of its $3.4 million dollar 2015 budget (http://www.santacruzsentinel.
This shortfall is being used as an excuse to curtail all essential services to the homeless, resulting in the locking of the HSC gates as of July 1, 2015. But in 2012 with revenues of $2,114,000 and expenses of $2,538,000 the HSC was able to continue functioning with a $423,000 structural deficit or a 20% shortfall. Thus the loss of some funding in 2015 ($350,000 or about 10% of the overall budget) and other increased expenses should not of necessity entail the denial of basic human rights to a significant portion of the population of Santa Cruz.
This is especially the case when funds are readily available from the City for a $420,000 increase in monies allocated for “economic development” (City Budget page 248) and while over 100 city bureaucrats and functionaries make more than $200,000 in total annual pay and benefits (http://transparentcalifornia.
Meanwhile, the Salinas City Council apparently has the the discretion to disburse federal funds as they see fit. According to the Californian “The Salinas City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to disburse a little more than $2.6 million in federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funding. The money is distributed to American cities annually in three main ways — through the Community Development Block Grant program, the HOME investment partnerships program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program — the latter of which primarily addresses homelessness. This year, on staff’s recommendations, the council voted to spend $1.9 million on CDBG programs, $543,083 on the HOME program and $172,842 on the ESG program.” (http://www.thecalifornian.
Santa Cruz likes to portray itself as an affluent, progressive California city. But nearly 22% of the population of Santa Cruz lives below the poverty line (http://quickfacts.census.gov/
Wednesday Jun 10th, 2015 2:03 AM
Wednesday Jun 10th, 2015 7:52 AM
These behaviors include silence as more laws are being passed criminalizing the homeless, refusal to provide the documentation needed to deter Sleeping Ban citations, failure to provide obvious direct services (lockers, adequate shelter), prison-like conditions (locked gate, fence, ID card), and closed bathroom at night.
It’s also telling that the HLOSC has declined repeatedly to make its budget for this year and last year public in spite of repeated requests. And significant that apparently they move immediately to announce cut off of the most essential emergency services [shelter, food, bathrooms, laundry, mail] when only 10% of their budget has been cut and 90% remains.
It appears that HLOSC is colluding with an agenda to reduce or eliminate emergency services. Perhaps this is being done to follow the federal money, perhaps to deter TBSC criticism, or perhaps simply as a wake up call to encourage more donors [this is the most hopeful prospect–if you’re a balls-out supporter of the HLOSC).
In any case, community support for meals, shelter, and other essential services–in whatever form–must be mobilized. Come to the Thursday June 11th meal tomorrow at 10 AM at Hiway 1 and Hiway 9. Support real alternatives to police harassment that will face more homeless people on June 29th.
A recent letter from Shelly McKittridge, a Program Director at the HLOSC complex, to a client being evicted from the Page Smith Community House sent yesterday reads:
“I think you are confusing the information about the Paul Lee Loft with Page Smith. We are not closing Page Smith Community House. We are, however, needing to move folks who have been in Page Smith over the 18 month limit on. The notices you have received are a structured part of the Page Smith Program. The Paul Lee Loft and Daytime Essential Services Program will close on June 29th because of the loss of funding for those programs. Page Smith, the Recuperative Care Center and the Rebele Family Shelter are not impacted by this funding loss.”
Tuesday Jun 9th, 2015 1:56 PM
On May 26, City Council voted, at Councilmember Comstock’s initiative, to direct staff to investigate if not add 24-hour bathroom access. See “City Council Unanimously Votes on Two 24-hour Bathrooms” at http://www.indybay.org/
newsitems/2015/06/02/18773019. php Recently activists, led by Brent Adams, have focused on the lack of adequate cleaning of the “Posner portapotty” at Laurel and Front Streets, and enlisted some community members to do the job, Parks and Rec has declined to do.
Today the final budget comes up for discussion and vote at 7 PM. Councilmember Micah Posner, apparently anxious that staff opposition will kill the proposal, has asked the community to come and support. I forward his e-mail and my response.
As you know the City Staff are very concerned about Council’s direction to keep some bathrooms open all night. Their concerns are totally legitimate. After all staff are the ones who will have to supervise the proposed program.
The City Council, led by Pamela Comstock, has, so far, courageously, directed the staff to find some way to keep bathrooms open at night.
If people want to support this direction, you should be supportive. Bring flowers, appreciations and constructive suggestions. This is not a time for a negative protest, not even a polite negative protest. The Council can use your SUPPORT. This is completely different from the BEARCAT thing where you were being ignored and it needs a completely different
AND, the idea of ramping this up into bringing excrement to the Council is completely counterproductive, in addition to being totally rude.
There is no better way to ruin the chances of the City opening bathrooms up at night than to bring shit to a Council that is being supportive of these efforts. I am totally shocked that activists who I respect came up with this idea. To be honest it makes me not want to share information with some of you.
My request: completely change the Facebook Event to encourage people to SUPPORT a City Council that wants to open bathrooms. Meet people at 6:45 and explain why being positive and supportive is the best way for them to get bathrooms open at night.
Thank you hearing me,
A City that declines to provide elementary sanitation services at night should not have to be wooed with flowers and candy.
The problem seems to be that the Staff (who Micah praises as usual) wants to reverse the will of the Council as expressed on May 26—the reason he’s asked homeless people (and housed folks) to come to the meeting.
And since the staff is usually the tail that wags the Council dog, as one activist put it, there’s not a lot of reason to be terribly optimistic.
I think everyone should present their concerns as they feel them.
No one I know of is planning to bring buckets of shit–though the current closed bathroom policy results in just that happening all over the City, of course—in spite of Brent and Micah’s well-intentioned incremental efforts.
I suggest people speak about the issue forthrightly and clearly and be prepared for the usual Council-follows-staff lockstep.
If that doesn’t happen—if the opening up the bathrooms is kept in the budget, well then, flowers to the Council!
If the Council caves, then obviously further steps have to be taken to focus attention on the issue.
Folks should be aware, of course, that this whole issue is a smaller part of the much larger proposed shutdown of emergency services at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center—which is now a locked, gated, patrolled area that requires ID to use.
This all seems part of the broader attempt to “unwelcome” homeless people to Santa Cruz and it is this broader issue that we all need to unite to fight. Or fight it separately in our own ways.
Meanwhile kudos to Brent and others focusing attention on the essential sanitation issue. And to the Council, if–for once–they do the decent thing.
HUFF will go through its usual shit (hopefully with more bathrooms on the way) at the usual place (Sub Rosa), but we haven’t secured clear indication that they’ll be open. If not, come to the Cafe Pergolesi.
On the HUFF agenda: City Council budget aftermath and County budget upcoming…The Encampment Proposal of FNB/Camp of Last Resort/& Other Activists…New police records on contracts they have…In Search of Cell Phones, Our Own Media, and Streetwatch!…with coffee and crunchables!