HUFF working on phone meeting to prep protest pressure for city or community action to open up motel rooms and vacant buildings. NO Noon Meeting Today at the Sub Rosa, Conference call likely later today for Easter Sunday Protest

HUFF tech-challenged activists are working on a conference call later today to discuss the Posner/Norse plan for an Easter Sunday Direct Action to get motel rooms open immediately.  E-mail rnorse3@hotmail.com if you are interested in learning about or want to be a supporter of this action. Or if you wish to be included on the HUFF conference call.

Updates: 

  • Food Not Bombs [FNB] is still serving daily under the parking garage in lot #10 facing Front St. (technically 124 River St.) across from the Bookshop Santa Cruz 1 PM to 6 PM.
  • Food prepster Keith McHenry has put out an emergency call to find additional kitchens as India Joze’s is being overburdened; he also needs volunteers and donations (tents, clothing, books, and staff).  Bring them to the daily meal.
  • City Council declined to follow up on the current shelter crisis for those outside, refusing to allow discussion of necessary shelter-in-place options NOT BEING MADE AVAILABLE in spite of available funding, vacant motel rooms, CDC guidelines, and growing illness nationwide.
  • City Manager Martin Bernal announced that in spite of the closing of all City and County parks and beaches starting tonight at midnight, folks outside in those areas in encampments will not be ticketed.  This, of course, doesn’t mean they won’t be swept, harassed, or driven out into the rain as has been the case during the last week.
  • Conditions have thinned out slightly but not significantly at the Salvation Army’s Armory, Laurel St., and the new Vet’s Hall mini-shelters.  There are rumors of some similar “thinning” at the Paul Lee Loft.  No clear information on Page Smith Community House, River St. or River St. Shelter.  Current conditions violate CDC shelter-in-place standards that are now being attempted in other cities like San Francisco after similar resistance from their mayor.  They risk everyone’s health speeding disease transmission.
  • Meals are being provided for the relatively few people in these crowded “have some COVID-19” “shelters”; police are promoting their PR by handing out a few bag lunches; bag lunches for seniors may still be available at the (otherwise closed down) Louden Nelson weekdays; get-em-at-the-door sparse bag lunches up at St. Francis Soup Kitchen on Mora St. weekdays.
  • If anyone has reports on the Association of Faith Communities mini-mini-shelter-together-while-we-cough-at-one-another program, please call 423-4833 with reports.   Ditto with their vehicular “safe parking” program.  Santa Cruz Homeless Union activists report continued marking of tires by cops and auxiliaries in possible violation of persuasive court rulings in other jurisdictions (https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/24/chalking-unconstitutional/   ).
  • Government “health authorities” with the collusion of governments have shut down all city/county parks and beaches as of midnight tonight; not sure what the status is of the Farmer’s Market downtown today.
  • McHenry said yesterday parking structure bathrooms have been shut down with portapotties overflowing or poorly maintained.  HUFF is still seeking volunteers to do a daily check and report on various portapotties and washing stations city-wide.
  • There are no vulnerable unsheltered people in motel rooms as of a day or two ago, according to McHenry.
  • Anyone have reports on the national Rent Strike and any local actions that were announced to begin April 1st?  Renter-unsheltered coalition is vital in these times.
  • Stipends for out-of-work Street Spirit distributors are still “being worked on”, according to Berkeley’s J.C. Orton.
  • Frequent local updates are still appearing on Facebook under SC Food Not bombs, SC County Homeless Advocates, Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz, at huffsantacruz.org and at indybay.org/santacruz .
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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.
  • 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 are still refusing safe concrete space for Food Not Bombs to provide food and other services. their attempts to establish such vital resources.  With the massive (and arguably illegal) fencing off of the Post Office, Town Clock, Scope Park, and other sidewalk areas, reaching the FNB meal has become more difficult.
  • Continued shutdowns at the Library, Louden Nelson, the Metro, the publicly sponsored Bookshop Santa Cruz, closed restaurants, coffee shops and businesses make this situation ever more dangerous both for folks outside and the broader community.  No alternate provision has been made for laundry, storage, phone-charging for the great majority of unsheltered people.
  • 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.  With City and County authorities refusing to act, the Community must make sure these spaces are opened up by any means necessary.
  • 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.  The 6′ distancing rule makes exchanges more difficult and less likely even though more necessary than ever.
  • 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 rents.  A weak Santa Cruz moratorium eviction law provides little protection as workers are encouraged to work under unsafe conditions to pay rent.
  • City Manager Martin Bernal & the City Council majority continue 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 by Direct Action.
  • 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.  Join with others to take peaceful Direct Action independently and this Sunday.
  • With washed hands and care to keep physical distance, bring food and yourselves to the 1 PM -6 PM FNB meal to sustain the survival effort and take the necessary future steps.  Support the SC Homeless Union legal action (if it ever comes) and the Footbridge Services (Brent Adams Day/Night Storage).
  • 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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