HUFF Call for Phone Connections: A HUFFster or two may be lingering at the Food Not Bombs meal today (5-13) at 1 PM at Laurel and Front St. to gather reports, distribute some supplies

HUFF Contact for Reports:   There may be a rep to gather any street reports and check-in’s today at 1 PM at the Food Not Bombs meal at Laurel and Front Sts.  No coffee (sigh).  Nopaper Street Spirits yet nor financial assistance for vendors. Otherwise and at other times if you have reports, questions, or complaints, please contact me by phone at 831-423-4833.  I will continue netcast reports on Thursday and Sunday as long as information comes in.  Keep it coming!

UPDATES ON ONGOING ISSUES

  • Linking Up with “Motels Not Hospital Beds” Movement of the Bay Area & Other Local Groups 
  • Report on Local Motel Room Accessibility:  Mayor “NoJustice” Justin Cummings deflected my questions yesterday at the City Council asking for the numbers of vulnerable and disabled folks in Motel rooms and how much money had been spent of Gov. Newsom’s Project Roomkey.  He and other authorities have not volunteered info on whether all who’d requested COVID-19 tests in the group shelters specifically not recommended by the CDC has gotten them, and how many have been given access to the safer Project Roomkey hotel rooms.  County worker Jessica Scheider has also not responded to follow-up questions.
  • Possible Direct Action to Expose City Manager Dithering on Motel Room Access: Caravaning to Politician Lairs No direct action from HUFF, Food Not Bombs, SC Homeless Union, or any other organized groups that I know of.
  • Prep for Any 5-12 Council Meeting “Action”  I barely nerved myself up to call in for Oral Communications.  Likely the 2nd reading of extended police powers to many city agencies passed and will become official law in a month.
  • Support for Possible City Action Against Food Not Bombs  Keith reported a temporary move yesterday across the street as well as extended services to the Benchlands fenced-in group, but a plan to return to Laurel and Front St. today.
  • Reports from Other Homeless Activists Elsewhere (Salinas, Berkeley, Marysville, Monterey)  Go to http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html for the latest shows.  Check http://huffsantacruz.org/wordpress/ for the content of the shows.  The 5-3-20 show has reports from other cities.
  • Tracking Those in Power:  Who are our Key Powerbrokers to Petition and Protest for Opening Motel Rooms under Project Roomkey?  Any volunteers to research these issues so we can “lobby distantly” or maybe carpool for some “protected protest”?
  • 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  I’m gathering contacts.  If you have ’em, phone me at 423-4833 or e-mail me at rnorse3@hotmail.com
  • Rumors of Legal Action to Fight Sweeps, Motel Room Denial, Police Abuse, and Fund Mismanagement  Nothing on the lawsuit front in spite of rumored promises, a vehicle dweller reported his home and business vehicle both stolen by police.  Call in reports.
  • Coronavirus Copwatch: Reports on Police, Ranger, Security Thug, and Business Behavior Towards Those Outside   Food provider denied access to the new Tent Village across from Coral Street’s Housing Mutters
  • Activists in Other Cities Under Fire:  Lucero Luna back!  And here!
  • 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:
  • Why is Mayor Cummings allowing Police Chief Mills to Eliminate the Coral St. Encampment and Constrict the Benchlands without offering Motel Rooms to the Vulnerable?
  • 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?
  • Metro Bathrooms Still Closed?:  Haven’t heard different.  Even during the day?    While conditions are improving, some portapotties and washing stations are reportedly insufficiently cleaned and 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.   Distress grows while the banks and big boys get the bail-out’s with unemployment skyrocketing.  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.
  • 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.
  • 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.  Funding exists, promises are made, promises are broken.
  • 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.  Support those panhandling on the medians and elsewhere.
  • Public transportation options have been restricted or shut down, making access to what limited resources there are even more problematic.
  • Mayor Cummings has still not issued no calls for an emergency Council meeting to pass elementary measures already done in other cities like a moratorium on rents. 
  • City Manager Martin Bernal & the City Council majority continue their 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.
  • The current Corona Virus crisis has prompted City and County to grudgingly and partially expand the unhealthy indoor shelter services (in violation of CDC guidelines) and to provide some long overdue portapotties and wash stations, but not in key locations like the Levy and Felker St.
  • Overcrowding is being encouraged in San Lorenzo Park by the police pressure.
  • 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.

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