HUFF minimeet A HUFFster or two will be lingering at the Food Not Bombs meal today at 1 PM at Laurel and Front St. Goal: To demand vacant motel room options for those in crowded shelters or outside, to monitor police behavior, to link up with others

  • HUFF Huddle:  Today at 1 PM at the Food Not Bombs meal at Laurel and Front Sts.  Coffee unlikely.

  • Raising Our Voices Higher! Expand and Extend the Protest to stop City and County Stonewalling: the Second “Motel Rooms Now!” protest at Ocean and Graham Hill Road near Denny’s.  See “Shame on Santa Cruz–Hotels Not Hospitals” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/21/18832547.php for more information on the noon-2 PM Friday April 24th Protest 
  • 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/
  • 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 largely 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?  
  • Will any City Council member be demanding these figures from the City Manager?
  • 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 longer will city and county bosses withhold the $$.
  • How many motel rooms are being currently occupied? 
  • How many kept empty while the virus spreads?
  • What is the timetable for occupying the vacant but “reserved” rooms?
  • 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:  pseudo-triage centers around town (such as Lot 17 near the sports stadium), the parking lot next to the Calvary Episcopal (Red) Church, the area adjacent to Depot Park, the parking lot next to University Copy on Front St., and other such “holding pen” areas, an area in San Lorenzo park.  Why?  To deter homeless people from setting up survival tents as was the case around the Town Clock and next to the Post Office?
  • 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.   The only disability portapotty in the City that I’ve seen is along the San Lorenzo park path next to the back of the County Building, open only 4-5 hours a day as a convenience for those dumped from the Laurel St. cram-em-in shelter program.   The last time a disabled portapotty was publicly available was at Camp Phoenix last November, when it was paid for by FNB and the Santa Cruz Homeless Union before being hauled away by the police under a hastily fabricated “trespass” complaint.  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 and http://homelessperspective.com

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