Brief HUFF minimeet A HUFFster or two will be lingering at the Food Not Bombs meal today (4-29) at 1 PM at Laurel and Front St. to gathering reports, distribute some supplies, wear masks, keep distance

HUFF Huddle:  Today at 1 PM at the Food Not Bombs meal at Laurel and Front Sts.  Coffee unlikely. No Street Spirits yet. Meeting will be small, brief, distanced, and masked to deter police interference. 

  • Santa Cruz City Council report from 4-28:  Our response to the refusal to rein in the City Manager; Mayor Cummings, City Mangler Bernal, and COVID Enabler O’Hara justify past and future attacks on Food Not Bombs.  General Council report.

  • Raising Our Voices Higher! Expand and Extend: the “Motel Rooms Now!” demands.  See “Shame on Santa Cruz–Hotels Not Hospitals” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/21/18832547.php
  • A Second Tour of Shame? to demand and expose unspent moneys, vacant hotel rooms, encampments without portapotties or washstations, COVID-19 vulnerable shelters, etc.

  • Tracking Those in Power:  Who are our Key Powerbrokers to Petition and Protest for Opening Motel Rooms under Project Roomkey?  “California could house its entire population in empty hotel rooms right now” at  https://www.curbed.com/2020/4/22/21215319/empty-hotels-homeless-housing-california-coronavirus 
  • Progress Reports on the 99%: on Encampments outside including San Lorenzo Park, Coral St., the Pogonip: What they need, how they’re faring, new contacts

  • Coronavirus Copwatch: How are police/rangers/security thugs respecting the rights and providing fair service to those with backpacks and ragged clothing downtown and around the County?
  • Shelter Casualty Report:  Are those inside the Vet’s Hall, Laurel St., Armory, and Coral St. being offered COVID-19 testing if they want it?  How many have been offered rooms as “vulnerable”?   How many classified as “vulnerable”?   How many want them?  How many are sick?   How many have been sick?  How many have been evicted–and what protections do they have?  https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/04/20/coronavirus-testing-for-all-sf-supervisor-demands-universal-testing-in-homeless-shelters/  Few answers were provided or requested at yesterday’s City Council meeting.
  • Still Relevant and Telling: SF Coalition on Homelessness panel of medical experts demands testing now, and immediate movement of crowded shelter residents into individual motel rooms. Still relevant is the press conference & discussion at https://www.facebook.com/CoalitionOnHomelessness/videos/2954977444559143/?  

  • SC Homeless Union Looking:  …for blankets, tents, and other survival gear.  Leave them at the Food Not Bombs meal (see below) or call Alicia at 431-7766.   …for medical professionals working in respiratory therapy, nursing, other life-saving professions willing to write, e-mail, or call city, county, and state officials to open up the motel rooms.  
  • Food Not Bombs [FNB] meal and clothes distribution is still  daily 1-6 PM at the parking lot next to the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union at Laurel & Front.  Weekends the meal will be 4-6 PM.   Food preppers wanted at Vet’s Hall weekends noon.
  • Still unanswered questions:
  • How many of those crammed into unhealthy shelters have been offered the option of motel rooms rather than the dangerous conditions in the Vet’s Hall, the Armory, the Laurel St. shelter, Page Smith Community House, and the Paul Lee Loft?  
  • Why are no City Council members demanding these figures from the City Managers Bernal & O’Hara?
  • Of those in the unhealthy shelters, how many have been tested for COVID-19?  How many are sick?   How many have recovered? 
  • Where’s the FEMA and Governor’s funding specifically for those motel rooms?  How much is left?  How was it spent?
  • Why isn’t Santa Cruz doing what San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other Counties are doing: Immediately Housing Vulnerable Folks Now!
  • What are the priorities–are the most vulnerable but not yet ill or COVID-19 infected–to be last while waiting for the sickness to hit?
  • Still fenced off and vacant: the Town Clock and nearby areas.  Why?  To deter homeless people from setting up survival tents as was the case around the Town Clock and next to the Post Office?  To dramatize the power of the police chief and city manager?
  • Metro and Park Bathrooms Still Closed?:  Even during the day?   With so many people sleeping in San Lorenzo Park?   Some portapotties and washing stations are reportedly insufficiently cleaned and often lack water, toilet paper, and paper towels  HUFF IS SEEKING VOLUNTEERS TO .DO A DAILY CHECK AND REPORT IN ON THE VARIOUS PORTAPOTTIES AND PRIMITIVE GARAGE BATHROOMS (often lacking privacy) throughout the City.. We checked a few during the Tour of Shame last Sunday, but need to do so more thoroughly and regularly.
  • Rent strike reports?: FNB reports folks reporting illegal evictions continue.  And vacant buildings remain vacant as the virus spreads.   Contact Tenant Sanctuary with reports of illegal evictions at (831)200-0740 .
  • HUFF MAY BE ORGANIZING BY PHONE to support the demand for Motel rooms before the only option  is quarantine areas.  CONTACT US AT 831-423-4833 OR RESPOND TO THIS E-MAIL IF YOU’D LIKE TO HELP OR WANT TO PROVIDE REPORTS.
  • Street Spirit newspaper distribution operations are currently suspended, but the Berkeley vendor center is still reportedly  looking for ways to provide some interim support for vendors whose sales lifeline has been cut off.  No word yet.
  • Frequent local updates can still be found on Facebook under Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs, Santa Cruz County Homeless Advocates, Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz, SCCCP (Santa Cruz and Central Coast Politics), Monterey County Homeless Advocates, The Santa Cruz Community, (SF) Coalition on Homelessness.  More distant updates:  homelesstimes.com, http://homelessperspective.com, https://wraphome.org/,

HISTORICAL REMINDERS from a HUFFster’s perspective

  • Check at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html to hear a series of phoned-in reports from different activists and workers–which should be posted shortly and may be updated more frequently.
  •  City Manager Martin Bernal provided a handful of portapotties  City-wide and cold water washstands after refusing to do so for months, but maintained nighttime closure of bathrooms in parks in spite of the emergency situation and repeated calls and e-mails.   Nor has the County acted to provide basic sanitary facilities for the poorest outside, though it has financial and organization resources to do so.
  • City agencies have opposed Food Not Bombs, the Depot Project, Bagels on Bikes, HUFF, and other organizations their attempts to establish such vital resources.
  • Recent shutdowns at the Library, Louden Nelson, the Metro, the publicly sponsored Bookshop Santa Cruz, closed restaurants and businesses make this situation ever more dangerous both for folks outside and the broader community.
  • Very very few motel or hotel rooms are yet available for the 1000-2000 homeless outside who want and may need them to shelter more safely and securely in spite of government directives and financial grants. 
  • The inadequate “normal” charitable activities of those working with churches, social services, etc. have been cut back or closed–many of the staff of these organizations are over 60 and particularly vulnerable to the corona virus.
  • Normal donations to those directly seeking survival money through “panhandling” have been discouraged or criminalized under the new emergency regs, enacted without public discussion or vote.
  • Public transportation options have been restricted or shut down, making access to what limited resources there are even more problematic.
  • Mayor Cummings has issued no calls for an emergency Council meeting to pass elementary measures already done in other cities like a moratorium on evictions and rents. 
  • City Manager Martin Bernal & the City Council majority have a long history of resisting the expansion of basic services for the less privileged in town.
  • Supervisor Coonerty and the Board of Supervisors have declined to provide county-wide resources in an equitable and sensible fashion.
  • The health of the community depends on our community action through a direct and united response.
  • Up to now we have seen how “concerned” and “effective” local authorities have been in meeting the needs of renters and those outside.
  • Meekly following the dictates of authority in this crisis has not in the past, nor likely in the future, to be a wise, health-providing, and productive course.
  • We must confront directly, clearly, persistently, loudly and immediately to secure the basic survival needs of the community in the current crisis.
  • With washed hands and care to keep physical distance, bring food and yourselves to the noon food serving to sustain the survival effort and take the necessary future steps.
  • Contact Food Not Bombs (575-770-3377), HUFF (831-423-4833), or the Santa Cruz Homeless Union (831-431-7766) if unable to come for health or other reasons. (454-2200) and you wish to help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *