As of mid-day March 24th, police chief Andy Mills posted
“Vacate by 9 AM March 25” Notices around the Town Clock’s COVID-19
Relief Center, jointly staffed by
Food Not Bombs, SC Homeless Union, HUFF, and other community volunteers.
The Center has been operating 24 hours a day, serving food and supplies to those outside as City Manager Bernal, Mayor Cummings, City PR Megaphonestress Susie O’Hara, and Police Chief Mills have continued to ignore, harass, and/or misinform the community.
Yesterday’s “no public allowed” City Council meeting defeated two attempts by the dying Progressive majority to (1) call an emergency meeting within 48 hours to address homeless shelter and health issues being ignored at the Tuesday Council meeting; and (2) strengthen and lengthen the fluffy light and unenforceable eviction moratorium proposed by Mayor “Can’t Help” Cummings and Vice-Mayor “Merry Malice” Myers.
For the last two nights, SC Homeless Union has taken the lead in distributing overnight motel vouchers paid for privately at that location (and last night from a parking garage). See https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/2020/03/24/santa-cruz-homeless-activists-draw-coronavirus-shelter-battle-lines/ for a slanted Sentinel take on the distribution.
While denouncing a “lack of the 6′ safe distance” at the voucher distribution on 3-23 and using that as the pretext to “cease and desist” order the vital Town Clock support center, Mills’s police cited an activist for marking out 6′ intervals on 3-24 in the parking garage for the 2nd voucher distribution. One hypocritical hand washes the other.
Street Spirit newspaper distribution operations are currently suspended, but the Berkeley vendor center is looking for ways to provide some interim support for vendors whose sales lifeline has been cut off. When HUFF hears, we’ll let the few vendors we have down here know.
Frequent local updates can be found on Facebook under Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs, Santa Cruz County Homeless Advocates, Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz, and HUFF. As well as occasionally at indybay.org/santacruz.
If anyone has seen the wandering coffee canister used to supply morning coffee to those outside which “walked away” yesterday, please ask it to come home!
ACTIONS, RESOURCES, & CONSIDERATIONS 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 will be updated daily if possible.
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 thwarted or denied 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.
- No 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.
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.
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.