Impending Uprooting on San Lorenzo Campground?

Eviction Notice Posted for Santa Cruz Benchlands Hooverville
by Free Speech Matters   Sunday Nov 5th, 2017 11:40 AM

After being rousted from downtown Santa Cruz and given San Lorenzo Park, homeless people are being told to move again.

The Hooverville-type camp on the benchlands in San Lorenzo Park now faces eviction. A notice was posted closing the park for “maintenance” on Thursday 9 November 2017.

Homeless people began occuping the benchlands after the Santa Cruz police vowed to “clean-up the downtown area”. When asked were they could go, the police told the homeless that they could go to San Lorenzo Park. Police Chief Andrew Mills declared, From the Clock Tower to Laurel Street, from Front to Center Streets, SCPD will spend the resources needed to ensure order. “

Now the City Parks Department says it is time to move along.

§Hooverville-type Camp Santa Cruz Park Benchlands

by Free Speech Matters Sunday Nov 5th, 2017 11:40 AM

Homeless people moved here after being rousted from downtown

Gorillas in the Mist: Are the Goonsquads Coming?

by Robert Norse  Monday Nov 6th, 2017 4:18 AM

The danger that this is an eviction and not a one-day relocation for “park maintenance” is real.

It’s not really clear what kind of “maintenance” is required here. I’ve never heard of the park being closed totally to the public (other than the usual privatized-for-a-day financial scams) for this purpose.

I suppose it could be a genuine “clean up” operation since San Lorenzo hasn’t seen so massive a continuous occupation since the Occupy movement of Fall 2011.

However there’s been no reassurance (whatever weight that would really have) from Police Chief Andy Mills and Parks Czar Mauro Garcia–much less from the City Council–that the “maintenance” will be followed by restoration of the campground tolerance (and portapotty/washing station/trash pickup support).

So this could be a dress rehersal for an evict-and-deport operation timed to operate with the opening of (as usual very limited) Winter Shelter program on November 15th.

This also comes at a time when Berkeley’s successful “Sanctuary Village” style encampment “Here…There” (earlier known as First they Came for the Homeless) was driven off last Saturday by BART goon squads after a peaceful period of ten months there with community support.

See “No Justice. Just Law. A Tale of Homelessness and Eviction.” at, “Homeless Eviction Farewell Party to South Berkeley ” at

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges at HERE/THERE, beg in the streets or steal loaves of bread. Tomorrow morning …

See also–Carol-Denney,

On the upside, note the unusual order by the federal judge Alsop.

While denying the camp’s call for a stay of execution, he also demands of Berkeley and the campers that by late November they come up with “a practical plan for shelter for its homeless during the coming winter…. Do not simply recite the programs the City purports to offer, for they are admittedly insufficient. Submit a plan that will shelter substantially all of Berkeley’s homeless. ..Be specific. Name soccer fields and open spaces [that could be converted].. to tent cities.”

This is a rare call for information from an otherwise-hostile Federal judge (he denied the campers attempt to stop the BART demolition of the camp).


In Berkeley the Here…There camp had a history of being stalked and attacked by police agencies over a dozen times.

The cat-and-mouse game between Berkeley and a homeless activist group continued early on Wednesday when city officials rousted about 25 people from their tents and …

City authorities finally realized–as Portland authorities did with the Dignity Camp that became Dignity Village in 2002–that they weren’t going to destroy the integrity and determination of the camp. So for ten months, they stopped the police raids, even yielding under pressure to allow a nearby portapotty to be set up.

Now displaced camp residents have already set up camp again at City Hall. See . The determination not to end the protest-and-survive camp has been renewed with community support.

First they came for the homeless. 4,194 likes · 430 talking about this. Action campaign for human rights.

In Santa Cruz, the same support kept the Freedom Sleepers going for 2 years until City Manager Martin Bernal unilaterally declared new “laws” banning constitutional protest there after dark.

Food Not Bombs, newly strengthened with volunteers, has brought food to the Freedom Sleeper encampment every Tuesday. Some activists there have discussed solidarity with the campers when the police come to remove the survival campers on (or before) November 9th.

Weekend warriors can e-mail Mills at amills [at] and Garcia at mgarcia [at] Not to mention citycouncil [at] .

Of course, the more direct course is to go down to San Lorenzo Park and offer support and solidarity to the campers themselves.

Or contact Food not Bombs at the Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs facebook page. You can also reach HUFF at 831-423-4833.

No Need for Trump’s ICE, Oakland City Authorities Destroy Homeless Sanctuary: Santa Cruz Ranger Rousters Menace Freedom Sleepers But Freedom Sleepers Fight Back

NOTES BY NORSE:   Last week, Oakland cops and city demolition workers tore apart a homeless encampment/self-managed service facility created in response to Trump;’s inauguration (and the City of Oakland’s abject failure to respond to homeless survival shelter and services).   [See stories below]  A second City-funded encampment (essentially trash pick-up’s, portapotties, and a washing station) faces extensive overcrowding and a end-of-March eviction date.


Berkeley has a continuing intentional encampment, which has now gone 3 weeks without an eviction notice or demolition raid by Berkeley police, BART cops, or the Oakland PD–it’s called First They Came for the Homeless [FTCFTH].  They are now expanding their aggressive demand for basic rights to shelter unhoused people as a class in Berkeley.   [See their facebook page at FTCFTH].


Still Pushing On—Freedom Sleepers Back Again at City Hall Tuesday for 82nd Tuesday

Date Tuesday January 31

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday -  9 AM Wednesday

Location Details On the sacred turf ot the City Hall courtyard itself as well as along the cement sidewalks of Center St. from Tuesday night to Wednesday mid-morning.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse

Email keith [at]

Phone 575-770–3377


The new “people friendly” Councilmembers (Krohn and Brown) still decline to announce their office hours or meeting times. Niroyan, Terrazas, and Chase have responded–but only Chase has regular office hours (Monday 10-12:30 pm). The first two will meet “by appointment”; Chase suggests the same. It’s not clear if the real power in town, City Manager Martin Bernal, has “office hours” or will even agree to meet by appointment.

However Freedom Sleeper supporters may remember that Councilmembers and Manager alike do have offices that are–supposedly–accessible to the public that is a building near the City Council chambers.

The employees and officials have their own special bathroom(s), which may account for why they have felt so free in the past to lock the public bathrooms adjacent to City Council, even during early daytime hours when they are supposed to be open.

Some have suggested this is particularly likely on mornings when the Freedom Sleepers are awakening, tired, soggy, and groggy from midnight SCPD rousts, morning ranger harassment. and drenching rain, compliments of being driven from under the eaves of buildings.

Interested supporters are invited to bring their video devices down to the Freedom SleepOut–Wednesday morning if you can’t make the overnight sleepout–to give power-amped park officials a wider You-Tube audience for their “you’re homeless and can’t be here” activities.   Homeless folks short of survival gear also appreciate donations.

Citations, property confiscations, and move-alongs for the Santa Cruz homeless. While the Oakland City Council’s assistance to homeless encampments may be limited, it’s definite. They are still flying the fantasy that they’ll move even a small number into housing by the end of March, but as with most “plans to end homelessness”, most of the funding goes to the poverty pimps, consultants, talkers, and entrepreneurs.

Still even the limited start acknowledges that even the fearsome heroin-using population will serve by hook or crook. It’s better to acknowledge reality than to deny it. With all the Housing First! chatter of the last few years (indicating get housing before worrying about drug or alcohol use), perhaps it’s time for Encampments First!–in the absence of housing.

Though it’s the usual splashy in-your-face sensationalist “drug users” headlines, still there’s some interesting information at And a lesson there for Santa Cruz–both economic and moral.

After many months, the SCPD has finally agreed to cough up records that would clarify the breadth of class profiling, discrimination, and impact that cops have had on the poor outside. It would also make clear the extent of racial profiling–where and if that is happening. Poring over the citations requires a commitment of time and energy in the bowels of the police station. HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) is on the lookout for volunteers. Call 423-4833; come to the HUFF Wednesday 11 AM meeting at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific, or e-mail rnorse3 [at]



On the sacred turf ot the City Hall courtyard itself as well as along the cement sidewalks of Center St. from Tuesday night to Wednesday mid-morning.

Freedom SleepOut Enters Its 80th Week Challenging Trumpist Sleeping Ban Locally

Location Details Alongside City Hall across from the Main Library on Center St. In Vehicles, sleeping bags, and under tarps and tents. The protest runs from Tuesday afternoon to mid-morning Wednesday. Bring plenty of warm gear to use and to share. Hot soup and morning coffee are usually available.
Event Type
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at]

With numbers somewhat diminished from 3 AM police roust-em-into-the-rain raids, the occasionally-open Warming Center, and the walk-to-the-outskirts-of-town-to-get-sheltered-downtown Winter Shelter program, Freedom Sleepers continue their year and a half Tuesday night vigil.

There are protests aplenty planned for the Trump Coronation coming up this weekend (elsewhere on this website). Missing however is any focus on halting repressive policies being pushed by both DemoRats and RepubliCons. These polices most obviously include continued warmongering, wealth privilege, police power, extensive deportations, and–most especially–attacks on the poor outside. In Santa Cruz neither Democrats, Republicans, or Greens in office have moved to stop criminalization of the homeless or acted to secure their most basic survival rights.

Between 4 PM and 5 PM Thursday January 19, Freedom Sleeper Pat Colby will be joining the 19th Annual Homelessness Marathon–which will stream on Free Radio Santa Cruz at or directly from their home website at . More info at . The entire broadcast runs from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Tenant activists are planning a free meal and story-swaping session where you can ” meet other renters and learn about rights you have under state, county, and city law. Plus presentations on successful renter protection actions. Sunday at 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM at 517B Mission Street. No landlords or property managers invited!

First They Came for the Homeless Encampment in Berkeley In 16th Move: Interview with activists Mike Lee and Sara Menefee at (1 hour and 14 minutes into the audio file)

A new vigil at SF City Hall and a 24-Hour vigil for the recently-dead Homeless by Homeless and Activists rather than the Traditional Annual Mourn-Today-and-Watch-’em-Die-Tomorrow Remembrance:

In Salinas the Monterey County Union of the Homeless huddled for its 1st Anniversary Strategy Session yesterday. See

In Sacramento, city bosses respond to pressure from media and activists to open winter refuge from the storms: See

Sign the Petition to Stop Raids on Berkeley’s First They Came for the Homeless Encampment

NOTE FROM NORSE:  The attacks on the 3 month old First They Came for the Homeless Encampment in Berkeley and “get out of town” harassment and exclusion practices of Berkeley police and so-called
social services must end.   Santa Cruz cops and their Ranger friends do the same here towards our weekly Freedom Sleepers and the broader unhoused community with our “new” City Council silent as near-freezing temperatures and cold rains assault folks, stripped of their survival gear and forced to move from the shelter of the edges of buildings.
I’m no fan of “Move On” e-mails generally, but First They Came for the Homeless (go to ) has asked that there be a flood of e-mails, and this is one way to do it.  Nor am I necessarily in agreement with every decision made by that group, but it’s clear that the regular and toxic attacks on the poor outside can only be stopped by community pressure.   What I call “local Trumpism”–which has long been the policy both in Berkeley and Santa Cruz has to be fought with local pushback.
First they came for the homeless. 3,164 likes · 148 talking about this. Action campaign for human rights.


Subject: City of Berkeley: Stop Raids on the Homeless
I signed a petition to Berkeley City Council and Dee Williams-Ridley, City Manager titled “City of Berkeley: Stop Raids on the Homeless”.
Will you sign this petition? Click here:

Sacramento Authorities Bending to Protest Actions in Tent City Fight ?

NOTES BY NORSE:  After weeks of protest camping out in front of its City Hall, Sacramento homeless activists have forced change.  Sacramento is discussing and its chief newspaper backing a Tent City as interim emergency shelter.  The San Jose City Council is doing the same.  Salinas activists, attorneys, and homeless residents of their Chinatown encampment have filed two lawsuits and announced a massive resistance campaign to begin March 22nd against gentrification deportation slated by greedy city bureacrats the next morning (HUFF activists may do a caravan–call 831-423-4833 if you’d like to join the resistance).  San Francisco supervisors are calling for a State of Emergency there ( )  has significantly (though not adequately) improved shelter capability and conditions–while moving to disperse the Division St. encampment after pressure from right-wing columnists and the usual crowd of NIMBY’s.

                         Santa Cruz continues to make sleep at night a crime & close off all parks and green belt areas with uniformed ticketeers roaming the area to drive away the poor.  Freedom SleepOut #35 will continue its nine month long weekly protest in front of City Hall tomorrow evening (March 15th).   See for more details.   Independent activist Dogwood has called for a march from the Town Clock to City Hall beginning at 3 PM on that day.  HUFF activists will be discussing further protest and speak-out activity at the Project Pollinate gathering this coming Saturday March 19th at San Lorenzo Park at noon.  What’s next here depends on all of us.


March 11, 2016 10:00 PM Sacramento Bee

Let Sacramento’s homeless have their tent city

City-sanctioned camp is worth a try over the summer
Pilot program would help with short-term housing needs
Long-term solutions still need to happen, but will take time

Rows of tents fill an authorized lot at Tent City 5 in the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle. Sacramento officials toured the city-sanctioned homeless camp as they consider whether to authorize a similar one in the capital.
Rows of tents fill an authorized lot at Tent City 5 in the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle. Sacramento officials toured the city-sanctioned homeless camp as they consider whether to authorize a similar one in the capital. Lezlie
By the Editorial Board

Imagine there were tents on a grassy lot in Oak Park, Meadowview or Del Paso Heights. Dozens of them, pitched for homeless men and women with nowhere else to go.
If such a scenario makes you uneasy, we understand. For years, Sacramento officials have been talking about whether to sanction a homeless encampment. And for just as many years, the idea has been dismissed as inhumane.

Now, though, the inhumanity of homelessness has spread across the city and the county for all to see. Permanent housing, the true solution, remains elusive if not illusory. The idea for a “safe ground” is gaining ground. With other, more traditional solutions still falling short, it’s time for the City Council to stop talking about this and try it – if only for a few months, in a cautious and controlled manner.

We suggest a pilot program for this summer. A permit should be granted for one agreed-upon site that’s big enough to house a few dozen adult campers in tents. Use of drugs and alcohol should be banned inside the camp, but pets should be allowed. Sex offenders and people who are prone to violence also should be banned.
Access to basic amenities such as portable toilets, water and trash collection, would be a must. So should access to services so campers can take advantage of treatment for addiction and mental illness, and get on a list for permanent housing.

To be clear, this isn’t a long-term solution to homelessness in Sacramento. Critics accurately point out that it remains unclear whether these camps actually help get homeless people into permanent housing. The experiment in Seattle, where a large delegation from Sacramento toured its legal camps last month, is ongoing.

But to go a step further and say a camp – even a temporary one – would do nothing but provide a distraction from other, more legitimate methods for solving homelessness is inaccurate.
It’s a stopgap measure that can be put into place quickly and relatively cheaply, and address some shorter-term problems associated with homelessness while the infrastructure for longer-term solutions is put into place.

The way Seattle Mayor Ed Murray put it, the authorized camps in his city are “an answer to nothing except a warm and safer night to some people.” And for homeless people who would otherwise camp outdoors – disconnected from services, risking arrest, getting robbed and even death because there aren’t enough shelters or because mental illness makes it tough to sleep indoors – being warm and safe is indeed something.

In other words, a city-sanctioned camp is far from ideal, but for the time being, necessary. Consider the alternatives.

Last summer, in the midst of another year of drought, homeless campers trying to cook instead set fire to large swaths of the American River Parkway. The blazes were costly to put out and threatened nearby apartment complexes, prompting the county to spend even more money to hire more park rangers to confiscate cooking equipment and break up large campsites amid the dry trees and brush.

That said, people have been camping illegally and in unsafe, disgusting conditions on the parkway for decades – to Sacramento’s ever-lasting shame when Oprah Winfrey singled out the city for it in 2009.

Since then, the city has ramped up its stock of permanent housing with links to social services. But on any given night, there are still about 1,000 people outside in Sacramento County, most of them in the city. Homeless-rights advocates readily tell stories of fruitless efforts to get people into shelters and onto lengthy lists for housing.

Things are improving. There’s talk of rearranging space at existing shelters to accommodate more people, and work is being done with landlords to get them to accept more tenants. But these things will take time, and summer is coming.

In the meantime, homeless people, once primarily downtown and in midtown, have started to migrate into surrounding neighborhoods as the city has redoubled its efforts to spruce up the central city. Many of those neighborhoods are the same ones being eyed as potential sites for sanctioned camps: in City Council Districts 2, 5 and 8.

The group Safe Ground Sacramento is pushing for District 5, which covers Oak Park, Curtis Park, Hollywood Park, South Land Park and neighborhoods near Sacramento Executive Airport. For those neighborhoods, the question isn’t whether residents want homeless people milling about. That’s already a fact of life, even for the NIMBYs.

The question is, do those residents want to deal with homeless men and women one on one, particularly those wandering the streets with untreated mental illness and addiction problems? Or do they want to deal with homeless people living in a camp in their neighborhood, where the environment is so controlled that everyone is screened before they are allowed to enter?
There’s also the bigger question of whether those mostly poor neighborhoods should be forced to bear the entire burden of city’s homeless problem. We think not.

Whatever neighborhood the City Council chooses if it authorizes a camp next month, it should take the advice of Seattle Councilman Mike O’Brien and get residents involved early in the process to enlist their help selecting an appropriate site. The result, he told The Sacramento Bee’s Ryan Lillis, has been that many of the business owners who thought a homeless camp would drive away customers now acknowledge their fears “don’t seem to be materializing.”

A collection of tents on a plot a land in some Sacramento neighborhood is not a solution to homelessness. It is an admission that society has failed the thousands of people who have no roof. The notion of a safe ground, flawed though it is, could help and, therefore, it’s worth a try.

Continue reading

Salinas the Selma of 2016: Activist Attorney Anthony Prince Urges “Stand in Solidarity March 22nd with Chinatown Residents”

Salinas homeless urged to ‘stand their ground’

Chelcey Adami9:06 p.m. PST March 11, 2016  Salinas Californian

With an approaching date set for the city to begin removing homeless property from encampments, Chinatown homeless and homeless advocates urged others Friday to “stand their ground” when the time comes.           The city’s clean-up activities are scheduled to begin on March 23 in the area of Market Way and Bridge Alley, and after that, they will spread to other not-yet-specified areas.
Since the city passed the ordinance allowing the city to remove homeless property, which they say is necessary due to health and safety concerns caused by the growing encampments, a group has protested the move in a federal lawsuit against the city, alleging violations of homeless civil rights and more.
In late February, a judge denied a preliminary injunction filed on behalf of the homeless that would have prevented the city from removing the property.
Anthony Prince, the attorney representing the homeless, said they plan to fight the ruling and also add new defendants to include a number of area homeless service providers who he said have misrepresented how much housing and assistance they could provide homeless who want to leave the encampments. A new judge has been assigned to that case as it continues through mediation. Continue reading

Seattle to Open a Third Encampment, Several Safe Parking Zones while Santa Cruz Tightens RV Restrictions, Homeless Crackdown


NORSE’S NOTES:   In Seattle, WA, authorities are taking some steps to provide the beginnings of emergency shelter/housing options for those outside–those with vehicles and those without.   In Santa Cruz, police continue to harass homeless with no shelter (See “Santa Cruz Police Target Homeless Sleepers Downtown” at; have instituted an RV nighttime parking permit requirement (excluding homeless people);  and decline to overhaul the long roster of anti-homeless laws the City Council has cooked up over the years.  Merchants with free-standing commercial signs casually block the sidewalk 12-24 hours per day, while homeless people seeking the necessities of life are banned from sitting on 98% of the sidewalk and forced to “move along” every hour, not come back for 24 hours, and face daily harassment from hosts, security thugs, and armed “law enforcement”.

To view video, documents, and comments, go to


South Seattle could get city’s third homeless encampment

A proposal could mean tents and tiny houses go up in the 7500 block of Renton Avenue South, just off MLK, south of the Othello Light Rail station.

, KING 5 News 7:37 p.m. PST February 15, 2016

SEATTLE – South Seattle could soon be the site of another homeless encampment.

The Low Income Housing Institute is proposing putting a temporary tent encampment called Othello Village at 7544 MLK Jr. Way S.
In a letter to neighborhood residents, Executive Director Sharon Lee said the long-term plan is to develop a new home for a food bank and to build 100 affordable apartments on that property and the adjacent property, 7529 Renton Avenue S.

There’s a one-story apartment building and a commercial building on the MLK Way property. The Renton Avenue location is currently vacant.

“As with any new development, it takes two to three years to design, finance and construct a new building,” Lee wrote. “In the interim period, for one or two years, we are proposing to put in place a temporary tent encampment.”

Last year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the city council approved a new ordinance that allows for three temporary tent encampments in the city on public or private land. There are already two – one in Ballard at 2826 NW Market Street and another in Interbay at 32334 17th Avenue W.


City leaders under pressure to solve homeless crisis

Lee said the city will help pay for operating costs including tents, a fence for the space, portable toilets, electricity, water, and trash removal.

“Day to day operations are the responsibility of the residents,” she said. “There are strict rules of conduct for residents including no alcohol, no drugs, and no violence.”

A maximum of 100 people will live there, Lee said.

There is a community meeting Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Avenue S.

The non-profit Low Income Housing Institute owns and operates more than 1,800 apartments in the region. LIHI will operate the encampment along with Nickelsville, which is also involved in the other camps across the city.

South Seattle could get city’s third homeless encampment. KING

Seattle mayor issues emergency order for 2 RV ‘safe lots’

Seattle’s mayor makes a major move to create more room for the homeless. Monday afternoon he issued an executive order to create two new safe parking lots for people living in their car or recreational vehicle.

and , KING 5 News 7:49 p.m. PST January 19, 2016

SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray issued an emergency order Tuesday to expedite the creation of two safe lots for homeless people who live in RVs or cars. The lots will be located at Ballard’s old Yankee Diner and in Delridge at West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way SW.
The two lots are expected to open in 30 days and will each have an estimate 50-vehicle capacity. Both sites will have sanitation and garbage service, and residents will be expected to follow a code of conduct that prohibits violence and the use of drugs.
Murray said that while the permanent locations are set up, three temporary street parking locations will be set up in Ballard, Interbay and SoDo.
Seattle Public Utilities owns the Ballard location at Shilshole Avenue NW and 24th Avenue NW. Seattle Department of Transportation is negotiating with the state DOT to buy the Delridge location.
Earlier Tuesday, councilmember Sally Bagshaw said talks were underway with land owners to host a possible site.
In a letter to community leaders in the Magnolia neighborhood, Bagshaw told residents meetings are underway with Mayor Ed Murray to determine how to address the RV issue which has prompted several complaints about trash and drug use.
“I still think they are going to keep coming in droves we’re not going to have a big enough park,” said Doug Kruger, owner of Kruger & Sons Marine Propeller in the Interbay neighborhood. Kruger says he’s had issues with theft, and heroin needles left in the street.
At a recent community meeting Seattle police estimated between 175-200 vehicles in the city have someone living inside.
This comes as the mayor declared a state of emergency to fight homelessness and the city is set to spend $50 million this year on the problem.
The mayor will send the emergency order to the city council for approval.

In an effort to get homeless living in RVs off the street, the city of Seattle is trying to find a place for them to park.

First ‘safe lot’ for homeless living in vehicles opens

On Friday, several recreational vehicles began arriving at two homeless camps in Seattle.

, KING 5 News 5:52 p.m. PST February 19, 2016

SEATTLE — A new safe parking lot opened in Ballard Friday for people living out of their RVs. The lot is located outside the former Yankee Diner.
The city paid to tow three RVs from a temporary lot a few blocks away and plans to move 20 to 25 vehicles over the next couple weeks.
“It was a blessing,” said Wanda Williams, who was the first homeless person to move into the parking lot with her Winnebago. “I cried. I have a home for once.”
The city provides 24/7 security, access to limited electricity, bathrooms, hand-washing stations and even a coffeemaker.
A detailed code of conduct was released Friday by the mayor’s office, outlining a long list of requirements and rules for homeless families living in the lot.
The rules include:

  • No drugs or alcohol
  • No dumping trash
  • No open flames

Residents must also work with a case worker who will monitor their status in the parking lot and help them secure housing outside of the site.
Related stories:
Mayor issues emergency order for RV ‘safe lots’
South Seattle could get third homeless encampment
Seattle’s homeless crisis: How did we get here

Continue reading

Emergency Breakfast 6-18; Camp-Out Kicks Off 6-28 [1 Attachment]

Title: Homeless Lives Matter: Building Towards Justice
START DATE: Thursday June 18
TIME: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location Details:
Corner of Hiway 9 (River St.) and Hiway 1
Event Type: Protest
Contact Name Keith McHenry
Email Address keith [at]



An assembly of activists–consensed to have another Emergency Breakfast to organize towards the June 28 Camp-Out.

The focus being to bring attention to the emergency services cutoff as well as the criminalizing of homeless people.

I would call the group organizing the Camp-Out “Homeless Lives Matter!’ (but they have not so named themselves).

It contains activists from a variety of organizations including Food Not Bombs, HUFF, residents and refugees from the Coral St. complex, UCSC students, Camp of Last Resort workers, the Homeless Legal Persons Assistance Project, and others.

The last two meals on June 8 and 11th were boisterous and successful. Many folks described their dismay & anger at the abrupt termination of emergency services (though shelter at Coral St. has served less than 5% of the population outside at Coral St.). They held up signs, exchanged solidarity honks and shouts with passing cars and expressed support for the demonstration.

So far Jannan Thomas, Executive Director at 115 Coral St., has refused to release her annual budget or explain why emergency services are the first to go from a $3.4 million fund.

The opinions in this announcement are mine, but not necessarily mine alone. –Robert Norse

Continue reading

Merced Mercycrushers Move on Homeless Camp

NOTES BY NORSE:   In Santa Cruz HUFF began turning in damage claim forms demanding $2500 from city sleepbusters.  The first claim forms were presented to the City Clerk’s office during the protest Tuesday night against the SCPD’s  rescue-n-riot Bearcat Armored Personnel Vehicle.   The restitution is demanded for each instance where a ranger or police officer has wakened a homeless person and demanded they leave–invariably without giving them a legal place to go and often with a $157 citation. Bring your sleeping and camping tickets to the Food Not Bombs tables on Saturday and Sunday at 4 PM near the main Post Office in downtown Santa Cruz.
      We don’t know how Small Claims Court “judges” will treat these lawsuits, but at least homeless folks and their advocates will get a chance to face their abusers.
       However, the attacks on homeless survival encampments in Santa Cruz are not likely to stop.  The hyperpolicing of parks and other greenbelt areas continues with no increase in shelter, no warming centers opened, and no acknowledgment of the misery and injustice caused by these sweeps.
       The new “Stay-Away” law in the parks and other large swaths of Santa Cruz goes into effect on February 12th or thereabouts.  Read about these new “Homeless–Disappear or Go to Jail” laws at    Specifically, the text of the monstrously expanded Stay-Away law is at and the older City Hours of Operation and abusive “Disorderly Conduct” laws are at  

Merced Homeless Threatened

by Mike Rhodes ( mikerhodes [at] )

Sunday Jan 25th, 2015 4:37 PM

Caltrans says this homeless encampment is on public (State of California) land. If these homeless people can’t live here (on the people’s land), where can they live?

A group of 25 (+ or -) homeless people living in an encampment near highway 140 and Baker street in Merced are being threatened with eviction by Caltrans. Notices were posted on Friday, January 23 for the Monday, January 26 at 8 a.m. eviction. The notice posted by Caltrans says that “all personal property and camp debris is to be removed by the time and date noted below.” The notice continues “any personal property left at this site after this time will be considered abandoned.”

The residents in the encampment, some of whom have lived there for over a year, don’t have any place to go. There are no safe and legal camp sites for the homeless in Merced. Several of the residents are elderly and some are sick and unable to move their property, even if there was some place to take it.

Marilyn showed me inside her shelter today and it is obvious that she is not going to have her property moved by tomorrow morning. The notice does say that “any personal property not disposed of will be stored for ninety (90) days.”

Supporters of the homeless will be at the encampment on Monday morning to video the Caltrans operation and make sure that homeless people’s rights are not violated.

She is unable to move her property to another location.

§Some of the homeless shelters are very well maintained

by Mike Rhodes Sunday Jan 25th, 2015 4:37 PM

§This is a view of a couple of the shelters in the camp

by Mike Rhodes Sunday Jan 25th, 2015 4:37 PM

§Some Shelters had some landscaping

by Mike Rhodes Sunday Jan 25th, 2015 4:37 PM

Caltrans clears Merced homeless camp

By Thaddeus Miller

01/26/2015 9:54 AM

01/26/2015 6:16 PM

The California Department of Transportation on Thursday posted notices at an encampment near Kelly Avenue and Highway 140 on the east side of Merced ordering the homeless illegally camping there to leave before crews clear the area Monday.

The notice went up on the same day that volunteers assisted the county’s Continuum of Care in counting the homeless in Merced County, a count required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Though the official numbers from the count aren’t expected to be released until next month, the Continuum of Care member heading the tally said there are more homeless people in the county than last year at the same time.

Those living in encampment near the Bradley Overhead, an overpass maintained by Caltrans, said Thursday they may have been able to find other shelter if they’d been given more notice.

Gail Henslee, a 60-year-old woman who’s lived in the encampment for two months, said a few days is not long enough to move. “We have nowhere to go, and they don’t care,” she said.

The notice says the area will be cleared because of illegal camping and dumping. Homeless advocates estimate that 25 people call the encampment home.

Henslee said she’s called a lawyer to study her options, but in the meantime admits she won’t have any choice but to leave before the camp is cleared out beginning at 8 a.m. Monday. She said she didn’t know about the plans to clear the camp until a Caltrans employee warned her earlier this week.

Entering a local shelter, such as the one D Street, is not an option for her, she said, because staff there would not allow her to bring her 11-year-old dog.

Being forced from one place to another is nothing new, said Brent Shirley, who has lived in a makeshift structure near the overpass for about six months. “There’s no closure for all of this – none,” the 52-year-old said. “It’s just a vicious cycle we’re all living in.”

A handful of tents and makeshift shelters make up the encampment, which can be seen by drivers who travel the highway to and from Yosemite National Park.

Caltrans spokeswoman Angela DaPrato said the California Highway Patrol will assist in the removal early next week, when crews will throw out anything left behind. Those in the encampment can identify possessions they plan to come back for, according to the posted notice, and Caltrans will store the items for up to 90 days.

Representatives from the Merced County Human Services Department were on hand Thursday to speak with those living near the overhead after the notices were posted.

Renee Davenport, who headed up the tally for Continuum of Care, said she appreciated that Caltrans held off from destroying the camp until after the count. She said several people in the camp are elderly or suffer from medical conditions that keep them from working.

Davenport said she is doubtful that many of them would get housing relatively soon, because the system does not work quickly.

Moving them from the encampment is not a long-term solution, she said. “They’re just going to go somewhere else in the street.”

The encampment has been there for about two years, Davenport said. It started to receive extra attention after the $41.2 million Bradley Overhead project was completed in November.

There were 768 homeless people in Merced County, including 21 children, based on the 2014 Homeless Count and Survey.
Davenport said this year’s count found more homeless people, but she declined to report the exact numbers. Urban Initiatives, the nonprofit that oversees Continuum, said it expects to be able to report the numbers in February.

Volunteers will continue with a homeless survey Friday. The questionnaire is an attempt to better track the demographics of the homeless, with questions designed to find out how many of them are men, women, children, veterans, HIV positive, mentally ill and so on.

Those leaving the camp will have to find a place to stay other than the warming shelter that’s been used during the past couple of winters. The Merced County Rescue Mission said this month that it was not planning to open the shelter, which is essentially a tarp tent filled with beds and space heaters.

Also this week, during a regular meeting, the Merced City Council instructed city staff members to look at the cost of opening a public building or taking over control of the city’s warming shelter. About $7,200 in Department of Housing and Urban Development money during the past two years has gone toward the purchase of the tent and the equipment inside, as well as paid the utility costs, according to the city’s Housing Department.

City staff members said a report could be ready in the coming weeks.


Caltrans clears Merced homeless camp

By Thaddeus Miller

01/26/2015 9:54 AM

01/26/2015 6:16 PM


Plans to clear a homeless encampment came to fruition Monday morning, as Caltrans workers used heavy machinery to begin clearing the camp near Highway 140, where an estimated 25 people lived in tents and makeshift buildings.

The work started shortly after 8 a.m. in the mud and grass field near where Kelly Avenue meets the Bradley Overhead. Caltrans posted notices on Friday that ordered the homeless to leave the area by Monday morning.

California Highway Patrol officers, who were on hand to provide security, said the people in the camp peacefully complied with the notice. One man who lived in the camp was taken away by an ambulance after he complained of chest pains.

Many of the residents of the camp were still packing up when the crews arrived. Steve Mentz, 51, hurried to secure his dogs and try to save as much of his structure as possible.

As he left the camp, he said he didn’t know where he would spend the night, as he’s been run off before. “They’re making it where there’s nowhere to go,” he said.

A resident of the camp for about eight months, Mentz said he’s legally blind and hoping to get disability benefits soon. He was aware of the looming destruction of the camp, he said, but didn’t have anywhere else to go because the shelters in town don’t allow pets.

Renee Davenport, a member of the Merced County Continuum of Care, said many of those living in the encampment have stories similar to Mentz’s. She said some have drug problems or suffer from mental illness, but several of those living in the camp are elderly or disabled and can’t work.

She said the breaking up of the camp highlights what she sees as a lack of services for homeless people in Merced and the county. “To do this in the middle of the winter – and there’s no warming shelter – there’s no excuse,” she said.

Davenport was in the camp Monday morning helping people pack up.

People who left the camp would have to find alternate housing from the warming shelter that Merced County Rescue Mission opted not to open this year. About $7,200 in Department of Housing and Urban Development money during the past two years has gone toward the purchase of the tent and the equipment inside, as well as paid the utility costs, according to Merced’s Housing Department.

Merced City Manager John Bramble said his staff is still looking into the cost and feasibility of opening a public building or taking over control of the warming shelter tent.

That same day, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro announced groups that work with the homeless throughout the central San Joaquin Valley received about $10 million to help those without shelter. Merced County’s Continuum got seven grants worth $579,193.

Back in Merced, Caltrans crews took down some of the makeshift structures in the camp by hand, folding up tarps and bagging trash. The buildings made with wooden pallets snapped and splintered as they were knocked over by heavy machinery. Some of the homeless got help moving from friends with cars, while others pulled their belongings on a cart behind a bicycle.

A handful of people arrived to the camp with signs saying the homeless there were being “persecuted.”

According to the last year’s homeless count by the Merced County Continuum of Care, there are 476 homeless people in Merced. Continuum conducted the 2015 count this month, but has not reported the numbers yet.

Caltrans agreed to store possessions for up to 90 days for those who lived in the camp. Anything else left behind was destined for the dump.

Angela DaPrato, a spokeswoman for Caltrans, said the department had been planning to clear the camp for a few months but waited until after the holidays and last week’s homeless count to go through with the plans.

She said the cleanup would continue Tuesday and crews were not certain how many more days it would take. “They didn’t anticipate how much work it would be,” she said.




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