Silence in the Santa Cruz Police Department in the Wake of the Boise “No Shelter For All Means No Sleeping Ban For Any” Decision

Police Chief Andy Mills announced at the City Council’s August 20th Public Safety Committee meeting that though Sleeping Ban citations have dropped over the winter, citations for “trespass”–in essence, falling asleep in parks, the Pogonip, and on public property declared “closed” at night (such as City Hall) have increased.  

See Jessica York’s Sentinel story at: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/general-news/20180821/crime-declines-despite-safety-concerns-in-santa-cruz

More recently, she collaborated in a story on the Boise 9th Circuit Court decision–which directly impacts Santa Cruz: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20180910/santa-cruz-may-update-homeless-no-camping-law-in-wake-of-federal-ruling .  

To hear the audio of Chief Mills testimony before the Public Safety Committee, go to http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub_PSCom/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1124&doctype=AGENDA  (about an hour into the audio file).


There is currently no  walk-in homeless emergency shelter.  I’ve been told that even the River St. mini-shelter’s waiting list at Coral St. is closed.  Even when open, beds available to those not sent by County Mental Health are a grand total of 3.  So the so-called “safety valve” that allows people to sign up for the River St. or Paul Lee loft shelters and then get sleeping ban tickets dismissed if ticketed on nights when on the list no longer operates.


And the City has no Winter Shelter program planned at the scale of last year, simply an expansion of current Paul Lee and River St. Campground’s programs which require a “pathway to housing”, have full waiting lists, or both.


So what’s up, Chief Mills.   Feel free to e-mail Andy with your own inquiry at amills@cityofsantacruz.com .


I and Freedom Sleeper activist Abbi Samuels asked Mills about this continued harassment and ticketing of homeless folks.   Particularly now that the City’s police are legally vulnerable to lawsuit because of the Boise decision.

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09/16/18817548.php

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