Protest History in Santa Cruz Creating Minimal Emergency Shelter and the Beginnings of Decriminalization of those Outside

Achievement Through Successful Protest 

Rough Draft of a History of Protest Against Sweeps and For Shelter 

  • Protest created the first Winter Shelter in 1985 at what is now Kuumbwa Jazz Center;  
  • Protest forced the City to purchase the mini-shelter at River St. in 1986;  
  • Protest pressured the opening of the River St. Annex in 1989;  
  • Protest created the Free Meal in 1989; which evolved into the Homeless Community Resources Center 1990’s; which became the Homeless Services Center in 1999;  
  • Protest embarrassed the City into expanding the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program in the early 90’s;  
  • Protest prompted the tolerated “back 40” camping zone in 1991;  
  • Protest prompted the City to “allow” churches to have 3 cars as survival campers per night on their parking lots in 1995;  
  • Protest forced the reduction of penalties in the Sleeping Ban in 1999 and “allowed” business parking lots to allow 2 cars per night;   
  • Protest moved courts to remove Failure to Appear warrants for Sleeping Ban infractions around 2005; 
  • Protest motivated the City Attorney and a compliant City Council to create the Waiting List exception stopping the filing of camping tickets in 2010; 
  • Protest prompted the suspension of Camping Ban citations along with the Federal Courts Boise v. Martin decision (now substantively ignored by the SCPD using other ordinances to sweep people away   
  • Protest created the creation of the first Benchlands campground in 2017 (out of embarrassment in the aftermath of the Freedom Sleepers protests with the appearance of survival camps outside the Post Office).   

Protest gets the goods when City Council is frozen into a reactionary posture by right-wing pressures, staff power, and City Manager mismanagement.  It can do so again.  Particularly if joined by a legal challenge (or many legal challenges).  If you remember other instances, e-mail me at  

Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833     12-29-20