8th Protest Action at City Hall Supporting Right to Sleep for the Poor Outside



Title: Freedom Sleepers Back To Bed Down at City Hall in 8th SleepOut
START DATE: Tuesday September 01
TIME: 6:00 PM – 6:00 AM
Location Details:
City Hall Courtyard and Nearby Sidewalk at 809 Center St. across from the Main Library on one side and Civic Auditorium on the other.
Event Type: Protest
Authorities continue to harass and cite members of the Santa Cruz unhoused community with $157 Sleeping Ban citations.

This is happening even though there is no emergency walk-in shelter for the city’s 1500-2000 homeless; waiting lists are full and generally seem to require a “path to housing”, social worker, and/or disability check.

No member of City Council has taken any action to either restore emergency food, shower, laundry, and/or toilet facilities at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center. Reportedly coming up on the September 8th agenda are new bans against RV parking anywhere in Santa Cruz from 2 AM to 6 AM.

And there has been no move to end the Sleeping Ban against the homeless or to designate legal areas where people may sleep without fear of busts or other forms of humiliation.

Meanwhile in Laguna Beach, the ACLU there has filed suit against the city for sleeping bans that criminalized disabled people–as Santa Cruz’s ban does to folks outside here.
See http://www.lagunabeachindy.com/updated-aclu-again-targets-citys-homeless-policies-2/

In recent complaints, routed through Councilmember Posner, city staff have grumbled that they have felt “unsafe”, and kvetched about “pee” and “poo” while giving no specifics as to when and where such deposits were found. Nor have they decided to open the City Hall bathrooms at night.

Neither I nor any other activists at these sleepouts have found any evidence of piss or shit. Some, far more fastidious, make it a point to clean up the area afterwards. Nor have staff forwarded any specific complaints to us in a timely manner or any other way.

I believe it is unwise for Councilmember Micah Posner to allow himself to be used as a conduit for anonymous and hostile criticism of the Freedom Sleepers.

Nor should police be surprised when homeless people, rousted from sleep, do not express themselves courteously when confronting armed men with flashlights and demands that they “move on”.

It still seems abusive and unconstitutional that the seat of government itself has been declared a “closed area” at night, even though that’s the only place where the city’s agendas are publicly posted. It could become an issue in a civil lawsuit if police physically arrest someone for doing nothing other than sitting or standing peacefully on the city hall grounds after 10 PM.

There will also be a set of proposed guidelines issued at the 6 PM General Assembly Tuesday, suggesting a “quiet for sleepers” and clean-up policy.

There will be a light snack provided around bedtime, and a light breakfast on Wednesday morning.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will be meeting Wednesday morning at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe as usual to plot and palaver.

For more info on the sleepout, call me at 831-423-4833. Again, the opinions expressed here are mine, but may also represent those of others at the sleep-out.

Join us to restore sanity and decency to Santa Cruz. The right to sleep is the right to live.

Freedom Sleepers is develop a new website at http://freedomsleepers.org/