Friday, December 19, 2008

In tough times, ranks of homeless students rising

By EVELYN NIEVES

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — As foreclosures and layoffs force families out of their homes, school districts across the nation are struggling to deal with a dramatic influx of homeless children.

Some districts are seeing increases of 50 to 100 percent or more and are so understaffed that it is taking weeks to help the homeless students and families who need it, according to a new survey on homeless children. Educators say students without a stable home are at greater risk of becoming truants, developing behavioral problems and failing in school.

An estimated 2 million children are at risk of homelessness because of the foreclosure crisis and economic downturn, according to First Focus, a child advocacy organization that examined Census and economic data.

The number of homeless students in foreclosure-ridden Oakland, with 38,000 students, has doubled to 1,200 since last year, said Mathew Uretsky, the district's homeless coordinator. And he thinks the number of school-age homeless children is four times as high.

"We find children in shelters who are just sitting there," he said. "Sometimes we find kids who aren't in school right now because they don't have bus passes. A lot of children of day laborers are not going to school because their parents don't think they have a right to go."

Some families end up in shelters, or bunking with relatives or friends. Others stay in run-down motels, or their cars. In cities where rents are high, such as San Francisco, a family that loses its home may spend months, even years, trying to find another.

Alex Rodriguez, 32, and Rosa Estevez, 26, both lost their jobs — he at a car parts store, she an insurance office — when their companies left San Francisco. Within two months, they and their 12-year-old son were homeless. They wound up at Rafael House, a family shelter.

Estevez, who is pregnant, said their son is often depressed.

"We try to stay upbeat for him," she said, "but I've noticed that he is not as interested in school any more."

A survey of more than 1,700 school districts released Friday by First Focus and The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), Washington-based non-profits, found unprecedented jumps in homeless students in the three months of the school year.

Most districts surveyed said they had identified more homeless students in the first three months than they had at the same point last year. Some 330 districts already have identified at least as many homeless students this school year as they did in the entire previous year. About 10 percent of the 16,000 school districts across the country participated in the survey.

But school district homeless liaisons, whose jobs are to identify and help homeless students, believe the numbers are even higher than reported, said Barbara Duffield, executive director of NAEHCY. Schools are finding it harder to identify homeless students because families new to homelessness often are moving targets. Many are not sure how to seek help or are too humiliated to come forward.

"Before this economic downturn, there was not enough shelter," Duffield said. "That is, the safety net was badly frayed. Now, it's got a gaping hole through which families who have never experienced this are falling."

Although the U.S. Department of Education still is tallying the number of homeless students for the 2007-2008 school year, all indications point to a problem with no end in sight, said John McLaughlin, coordinator of the DOE's homeless assistance program for school districts. "All across the board," he said, "in every state we got information from, there were some pretty big increases in homeless students."

The primary reasons for the surge are increasing joblessness and the foreclosure debacle, according to local and national homeless advocacy organizations.

"You've got dramatic foreclosures plus a million job losses," said Philip Mangano, director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the administration's lead organization for addressing homeless issues. "We would have to be naive to believe that this wouldn't have an effect on families already struggling, and it has."

In this economy, there is no quick fix. Congress approved $3.9 billion in its last spending bill to aid communities ravaged by the foreclosure crisis, Mangano said. Advocates for homeless children are asking the Senate for $72 million in emergency funding for DOE's homeless children and youth programs.

The influx of homeless students also is costing local school districts. Federal law requires state and local school agencies to provide homeless students transportation to the school they began the year attending, as well as meals, books and other support. Some districts report that transportation bills eat up more than half of their funds for homeless assistance.

Cities and counties hard hit by foreclosures are seeing a corresponding rise in family homelessness. In Nevada's Clark County, with one of the worst foreclosure rates in the nation, the school district of 300,000 students reports 4,033 homeless students, double the number a year ago.

"We're falling in the same pattern as everybody else," said Myra Berkovitz, the district's coordinator for homeless students. "More need and less money."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cities see increace in homelessness

Capt. Martin Cooper of the Salvation Army has been handing out free sandwiches and soup near the Civic Center in San Francisco for the last year and a half. Lately he's noticed some troubling changes.(Full Article)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Homeless Portlanders set to sue to block anti-camping ordinance

The nonprofit Oregon Law Center plans to file a class-action lawsuit Friday in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Portland’s anti-camping ordinance. (Full Article)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

STOP THE RAIDS IN THE FIRST 100 DAYS

The first of the 388 workers arrested in the immigration raid on the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, were deported in mid-October, having spent five months in federal prison. Their crime? Giving a bad Social Security number to the company to get hired.
(Full Article)
David Bacon | October 23, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Don't Waffle - Breakfast with Sherman Alexie

Dear Activist,

Celebrate 14 years of community-building, quality alternative journalism, and effective grassroots organizing with the irrepressible Sherman Alexie and 500-1,000 of our best friends.

This has been a year of courageous risk-taking and relentless organizing. Help us be strong.

What: Real Change 14th Anniversary Breakfast
When: Wednesday November 12, 7:30-9am
Where: University of Washington, Husky Union Ballroom

Tickets are $50 each, $500 per table.

Guests have the following payment options:
1. A check made payable to Real Change, 2129 2nd Ave., Seattle, WA 98121. Mail previous to event (preferred) or give it to us at the breakfast.

2. Call Kathy at 206-441-3247 x201 to process a credit card payment over the phone.

3. Tickets are available online

Driving directions

Public transportation
- Destination is University of Washington HUB

Sponsored by PCC, University of Washington Honors Department, Catering by FareStart

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dancing for Our Rights





Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Doors open at 7 PM
Slim's
333 11th St. (between Folsom and Harrison)
San Francisco, CA 94103-4313

We invite you to join the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) for a celebratory evening of music, dance, and community at San Francisco’s premier night club, Slim's.

Resistance takes many forms and WRAP knows that music and dance release a creativity that sustains and inspires each of us. This artistic expression is at the heart of what we do. So come and let loose your bodies and spirits to the Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban beats of GREAT local talents, The John Santos Sextet and Fito Reinoso y Ritmo y Armonia.

We will celebrate our young organization's accomplishments and all the people who make WRAP possible, and build energy and community as we join forces to create to a social justice movement that promotes the human and civil rights of poor and homeless people in our communities by winning affordable housing, health care, education, and livable incomes for everyone. Proceeds will be used to support our civil rights campaign, Without Rights.

Tickets are $25 each and available through WRAP (Contact Michael at 415-621-2533 or development@wraphome.org), in person at Slim’s or Great American Music Hall box offices (open M – F from 10:30am – 6pm & also in the evening on nights of shows), via www.slimstickets.com & by fax order (downloadable fax form available at www.slims-sf.com)

About WRAP:
WRAP’s mission is to build a movement to expose and eliminate the root causes of civil and human rights abuses of people experiencing poverty and homelessness in our communities. WRAP members include Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (Berkeley and Oakland), Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Real Change (Seattle), Sisters Of The Road and Street Roots (Portland), and Street Spirit (Oakland). Check out our website to learn more about WRAP: www.wraphome.org.


About the artists:
Four-time Grammy-nominated, US Artists Fontanals Fellow, Bay Area native, John Santos, is a major international exponent of Afro-Latin music as an innovative percussionist, composer, teacher, writer, and producer for over thirty five years. He's worked with masters like Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Tito Puente, Joe Henderson, Max Roach, Bebo Vald├ęs, Eddie Palmieri and Omar Sosa. He was founder and director of the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble (1985-2006) and currently directs the highly acclaimed John Santos Sextet.

Fito Reinoso has made the Bay Area his home and is the premier Cuban born Sonero performing in the Bay Area. Fito is an accomplished singer-songwriter and plays classic son, cha-cha-cha, bolero and modern Cuban urban grooves. Fito was nominated for the Grammy in 1995 for his work with Changuito, Patato and Orestes Vilato. He has performed with Cuban legends Armando Peraza and Cachao, and with many of the great Latin music artists of the Bay Area, the United States and Cuba, including Los Van Van, Irakere and Bamboleo. Fito Reinoso and his band, Ritmo y Armonia, perform at a number of Bay Area renowned nightclubs and festivals.

Ivy League Homelessness

The national housing and financial crises were brought home to Cambridge at last night’s City Council meeting, during which the body passed two resolutions to investigate homelessness in the city. Full Article

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Human Right to Housing

No housing program can be adequate or complete if it fails to provide for any substantial segment of our population. We can maintain neither a prosperous industry nor a prosperous nation if we do not bring better housing to more people.
- Pres. Harry S. Truman

There Is No Place Like Home:
Revisiting Our Commitment to Housing the Poor
Full Report

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stop human rights abuses on skid row

2 Years
18,000* arrests
No new housing

Stop the city's crackdown on poverty, homelessness and mental illness from entering its third year.

Join us Sept. 25th. at 10:00a.m.on the corner of 5th. And Main Streets to tell the mayor we want housing and services, not jails.


• 750 arrests each month in a community that’s home to 13,000 people. These arrests have had no affect on violent crime in the area, but they’ve had a devastating and lasting affect on poor, homeless and mentally ill people living downtown.
• 1,000 misdemeanor citations each month for “crimes” such as crossing the street against a flashing red hand. When a poor or homeless Skid Row resident can’t pay the fine, the citation turns to warrant and leads to arrest.
• Thousands shut out of federally-funded housing and food programs. When people return from jail, their criminal record forces them to live on the street, where they cost taxpayers $100,000 each year as they circulate through emergency rooms and jails.
• $6 million each year for 50 additional uniformed officers and as many undercover officers to police a 50-square block area. That’s about equal to the amount the city “invests” in homeless services for the entire year. Over two years, that money could have been used to get 750 people off the streets and into housing with support services.
• Thousands of cases in an overburdened court system. Drug cases involving no more than $5 in crack cocaine are clogging up a court system that has a difficult time finding space and resources for murder and rape trials.

We cannot police out way out of homelessness. It’s inhumane, expensive, and completely ineffective.
On Sept. 25, we will demand an end to the discriminatory policing and call for housing and services for the poor, homeless and disabled residents of Skid Row.

Nickelsville is standing!

Photo by Scott Eklund /P-I

As the clock reached 4 AM, energized hands constructed tents, poured coffee, and directed news media. Friends car-pooled from all over King County to support Nickelsville.

Over a hundred tents now stand. We need your help! Come show your support and stand in solidarity with those who have no choice but to sleep outside.

Head over to Nickelsville anytime! Before or after work, during your break - we hope to see you there.

Nickelsville is located in the South Seattle neighborhood, at the crossing of West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park.

Address: 7115 W Marginal Way SW, Seattle Map

More Here

Homeless start settling in fuchsia 'Nickelsville'

A modern-day Hooverville opens in Seattle

For questions email Natalie.

See everyone soon,

The Real Change Organizing Project

NPACH Statement: Bailout Must Help Low Income Families, Not Just Wall Street

The U.S. economy is in turmoil. Earlier this year, Bear Stearns received a massive federal government subsidy, in order to facilitate a fire sale. In recent weeks, the government has taken over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and seized control of AIG. Foreclosures continue to rise, and the stock market is volatile. Now, federal officials and congressional leadership are discussing a Wall Street bailout that could cost U.S. taxpayers up to $700 billion.

In these troubled times, as Congress acts to protect the safety and soundness our of financial system, we must not forget that the cause of our current problems is the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. While the impact may be felt across many sectors of the economy, what we have is at its heart a housing problem - one which demands housing-related solutions.

HUD recently declared that homelessness was down, a statement reported breathlessly by far too many in the media. Despite this government spin, cities across the country have been reporting a huge influx in homelessness due to foreclosures and a declining economy. Last week, a HUD spokesman acknowledged that their numbers predated the foreclosure crisis, and that the agency has no idea of how rising foreclosures are actually affecting homelessness, terming it "a great question," and stating that "we're still trying to get to that."

We understand the vulnerable position so many families are in - a recent report tells us that over 2 million children will be negatively affected by the foreclosure crisis, with many of them becoming homeless. And we believe that if the government chooses to intervene financially to protect corporate America, we must also protect families who are at risk of homelessness or already homeless. These families should not have to live doubled up, in tent cities, and on the streets while failed Wall Street CEOs retreat to their multi-million dollar mansions.

The President has called on Congress to swiftly enact a bailout plan. We agree that action to assist low income and homeless families cannot wait. To ensure that any legislation helps all Americans in need, the following key affordable housing priorities must be part of any final package.

Congress must act now to:
  • Permit bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages on primary residences during the foreclosure process, to help keep families in their homes.
  • Enact baseline renter protections, to ensure that innocent tenants who pay their rent and comply with their leases are not evicted (sometimes with as little as 3 days notice) when their landlord goes through a foreclosure and the rental unit is turned over to the bank.
  • Provide an immediate infusion of at least $300 million to FEMA's Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which helps prevent and end homelessness.
  • Appropriate funds for 100,000 new Section 8 vouchers targeting homeless families.
  • Require Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the new entity that will purchase mortgage securities to increase contributions to the new National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Market Fund, created earlier this year, so that more new units of affordable housing can be developed.

For additional information, contact Jeremy Rosen, NPACH Executive Director, at (202) 714-5378, or jrosen@npach.org

Anti Palin rally in Alaska

Very cool video!!!

Check it out!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Capitol Strives to Define ‘Homeless’

For more than 20 years, federal housing law has counted as homeless only people living on the streets or in shelters. But now the House and the Senate are considering an expansion of the definition to include people precariously housed: those doubled up with friends or relatives or living day to day in motels, with money and options running out.

Full
Capitol Strives to Define ‘Homeless’
Article

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hard Times Hitting Students and Schools

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With mortgage foreclosures throwing hundreds of families out of their homes here each month, dismayed school officials say they are feeling the upheaval: record numbers of students turning up for classes this fall are homeless or poor enough to qualify for free meals.
Full Article

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST SAN FRANCISCO FOR HOMELESS SHELTER PROGRAM THAT EXCLUDES DISABLED PEOPLE

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2008

Contacts:
Disability Rights Advocates:
Sid Wolinsky (510) 665-8644
Julia Pinover (510) 665-8644
Western Regional Advocacy Project:
Paul Boden (415) 621-2533
Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette LLP:
Daniel Mason (415) 693-0700

DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST SAN FRANCISCO FOR HOMELESS SHELTER PROGRAM THAT EXCLUDES DISABLED PEOPLE

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A landmark suit filed in federal court in San Francisco today charges that San Francisco’s homeless shelter program “blatantly discriminates” against disabled homeless people. Although the majority of all homeless people are men, women, and children with disabilities, the suit is the first in the country to broadly challenge the homeless shelter program of a city as a violation of civil rights statutes that protect people with disabilities.

The suit alleges that the cornerstone of San Francisco’s approach to homelessness — the embattled “Care Not Cash” program that is the brain child of Mayor Gavin Newsom systematically excludes homeless men and women with disabilities.

Care Not Cash gives participants priority shelter reservations and case management services. Homeless disabled persons who receive social security or veterans benefits cannot participate in the program, even if they desperately need shelter. People with disabilities are thus denied any opportunity to use a major portion of the resources in the shelter system and are denied access to the hundreds of reserved Care Not Cash beds.

Disabled persons are also denied any opportunity to make a 45-day shelter bed reservation, a privilege that Care Not Cash gives to eligible participants. In addition, these disabled men and women must compete with thousands of others each night for a chance to occupy one of the scarce shelter beds available. As a result, homeless people who need shelter the most are the ones who are least able to gain access to the services they so desperately need.

The class action suit, seeking relief on behalf of disabled homeless persons in San Francisco, was filed by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a Berkeley-based nonprofit law center, and Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette LLP, a major national litigation law firm. The suit seeks to end discrimination against disabled people and does not request money damages.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), a non profit coalition protecting the interests of homeless people, and an individual with disabilities who is homeless in San Francisco.

Sid Wolinsky, Litigation Director for Disability Rights Advocates, commented:
“San Francisco’s homeless ‘program’ is a bureaucratic mess. Under Mayor Newsom’s system, disabled people are more likely to be forced onto the streets and alleys of San Francisco. No amount of smooth talking can hide the fact that there are only 1,300 shelter beds for some 3,800 single adult homeless people. No wonder the last report of the National Coalition for the Homeless named San Francisco the ‘eleventh meanest city in the United States.’ The City has created a cruel shell game in which everyone is a loser.”

San Francisco has a very serious shortage of shelter beds. The City guarantees to anyone enrolled in Care Not Cash that they can obtain one of over three hundred beds specifically set aside for them. Because disabled men and women cannot participate in Care Not Cash, however, men and women in wheelchairs or with mental disabilities must attempt on their own to locate some other available bed, travel to that location carrying everything they have, endure lengthy waits until late at night, and often be told that no bed is available. Even if they find a bed, they cannot keep it. They are forced to repeat the process each day. Because homeless persons with disabilities often lack the mental and physical fortitude to overcome the obstacles which San Francisco imposes, they are often left unsheltered.

Dan Mason, an attorney with Zelle Hofmann commented: “It is shameful for a city with the civil rights history of San Francisco to treat people with disabilities so unfairly. People denied shelter beds are the most fragile shelter seekers — those with disabilities.”

People with disabilities, both mental and physical, make up a very high percentage of the homeless population in San Francisco. In a 2007 survey conducted by the Coalition on Homelessness, 50% of individuals in the shelter system self-identified as having a disability. Homeless advocates estimate that a far larger percentage of homeless people are disabled.


Paul Boden, Director of WRAP added, “Homelessness is an emergency. It is a crisis. For San Francisco to programmatically discriminate and to make this vital life sustaining service unavailable to people with mental health disabilities is unconscionable.”

The full text of the complaint is posted at the Disability Rights Advocates website: www.dralegal.org.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Modern Times Book Store Event Up-Date

Aug.14, 2008 WRAP and local artists held a community meeting at Modern Times Book Store in San Francisco to discuss art as an organizing tool.

Turn-out was outstanding. Around 100 people showed up. Between 60 and 70 stayed for the complete presentation.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Foot Patrols to Discourage Homeless in Berkeley

BERKELEY, Calif. (KCBS) -- The problem of homeless street people has plagued Berkeley, but officials are hopeful that a new program will help. In September outreach workers known as “hosts” will troll Shattuck and Telegraph Avenues.

”We want to make sure that they get their needs met, but also allow visitors to enjoy their experience when they’re downtown,” said Deborah Badhia, executive director of the Downtown Berkeley Association.

The idea for foot patrols was hatched about a year ago, around the time Cody’s Books closed. Some theories are that the bookstore was forced to closed, in part, because Telegraph Avenue had deteriorated to a point that no one wanted to come to shop.

The foot patrol will give the homeless housing referrals and lists of city services.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mercer Island, Washington, is home to tent camp

An encampment for the homeless is set up on church property after a legal battle with local residents.
By Stuart Glascock, Special to The Times
August 6, 2008
(Full Article)

Diary: Challenging Gaza blockade

Activists from the California-based Free Gaza Movement are planning to sail from Cyprus to Gaza in defiance of an Israeli blockade of the territory. Rachid Sekkai of the BBC Arabic Service will be on board and sends his first diary entry.

Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Middle East envoy Tony Blair will be on board

About 45 people are here in the port of Larnaca in Cyprus, preparing to sail south to Gaza.
The group includes Americans, Palestinians and Israelis among the 15 nationalities represented.
President of the Free Gaza Movement, Greta Berlin explains the mission.
"This is a non-violent resistance project to challenge Israel's siege of Gaza. Israel claims that Gaza is no longer occupied, yet Israeli forces control Gaza by land, sea and air".
Israel imposed an economic blockade on Gaza after Hamas forces violently seized control from Fatah in June 2007. The squeeze is also aimed at stopping militants firing rockets at southern Israel.
No Israeli authorisation
The organisers' plan is to enter Gaza from international waters without Israel's authorisation, to recognise Palestinian control over its own borders.
Two wooden boats, Free Gaza and Liberty, will also carry a cargo of 200 hearing aids which are destined for children in Gaza whose hearing has been damaged by explosions and sonic booms.
Americans, Palestinians and Israelis are joining together on the trip

Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who is now an international envoy to the Middle East , tells me she is travelling as both supporter and reporter.
"I dearly want to go to Gaza again to support the Palestinians and to show the world the reality of what's going on there".
Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein is making the journey - at the age of 83 - for humanitarian reasons.
"We intend to open the port, fish with the fishermen, and work in the schools".
Danger
The organisers have been open about the risks involved in making such a trip.
Greta Berlin says if the first boat is stopped or attacked by Israeli forces, the passengers will use non-violent resistance, and the second vessel will follow "no matter what".
Our pre-trip training has included lessons on how to behave if things don't go to plan.
The departure date is a secret for our own safety. All we know so far is that the journey is meant to take 20 hours.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Solving Homelessness Year To Year

No more 'Band-Aid' approaches, Heart of Florida United Way vows

Heart of Florida United Way is radically changing the way it does business: going after "root causes" of hunger, homelessness, crime and family violence instead of "putting a Band-Aid" on the problems, leaders say.
(Full Article)

Dividing to conquer?!?

County launches new housing program

BY JAMES LOEWENSTEIN
STAFF WRITER
Published: Monday, August 4, 2008 4:22 AM EDT
TOWANDA — The Bradford County commissioners are launching a program to provide housing for homeless people who are mentally ill, and have also adopted bylaws related to the disbursement of room tax money in the county.
(Full Article)

Hurricane victims...Economic victims

Katrina evacuees falling into homelessness


BATON ROUGE, La., Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The closing of a Louisiana trailer park for Hurricane Katrina victims is highlighting fears that some evacuees are falling into homelessness, observers say.
(Full Article)

City backs housing for homeless

By ED KEMMICK
Of The Gazette Staff

From its inception two years ago, the Mayor's Committee on Homelessness has been acting on the premise that finding a solution to chronic homelessness is the key to ending homelessness in general.
(Full Article)

Monday, August 4, 2008

ALERT: Patti in Arcata; shut down through intimidating CITY Govn't. tactics

Greetings,

Last week, Patti, who was publicly sharing/serving food at least 4 days a week (she also runs around making sure folks have food), was visited by a so-called health inspector and threatened. This guy was the same one (I believe) who came to the People Project encampment and, not finding any health risks/hazards, reported back to the City in LIES. Patti's food is nutritious and consciously prepared and distributed. Patti treats people with respect and caring, and her efforts lift people's spirits and take care of concrete needs- needs that are otherwise almost completely neglected, or 'satisfied' through dehumanizing means. Patti has been actively sharing food publicly for 3 years. Patti is a military vet. She is devastated by the threats she received last week, but moreover because the people who depend on her for meals, can no longer.

Patti has supplies, food donations, and willingness to be behind the scenes to get food to folks who want to prepare it and share with people who are hungry. There are often something like 50 or more people who come to eat meals prepared by Patti (and she used to, on occasion, bring food and participate in People Project meetings). After Patti was threatened (on Wednesday or Thursday of last week), she did NOT go to her usual spot, but rather drove by from the highway, seeing all of the people expecting her to be there, and the COPS.

***We've already fought this battle in Arcata and ALL OVER THE U.S! Food not Bombs volunteers used to get arrested on the Arcata Plaza on a regular basis in the 90's. San Francisco went through the "Soup Wars". Food Not Bombs everywhere have fought the absurd and cruel repression against people sharing food without a permit (like a big picnic), and WE HAVE ALWAYS WON!! As long as we are not selling food or blocking passage on public property, it's all good- or should be.

Please get loud and public about this intimidation of Patti and the loss of a valuable resource for so many that is necessary for survival- FOOD shared in a DIGNIFIED way. I ask that you as an individual, and/or you, as part of a group in which you participate, write a statement in support of public feeding and condemning the intimidation and repression that has been brought upon Patti. Consequently, many people are not getting their basic needs met. With the City's involvement, oppression, and shutting down of the Arcata Endeavor, with the loss of our indoor meeting spot for PEOPLE PROJECT in Arcata (where we always had dinner), with the absence of Food Not Bombs currently in Arcata, and most of the dumpsters LOCKED- little to no free food is accessible to people who need it. There is no shortage of food in Arcata- stores have tons of 'excess', Patti has many regular donors, the dumpsters anD garbage cans are full of perfectly acceptable surplus food from restaurants - yet the people who need it are LOCKED OUT more and more by the FASCIST City of Arcata (including its pet businesses).

Please SPEAK OUT about this- hang signs through the town, send the city mailed, emailed, faxed statements; get on the radio. The next City Council meeting in Arcata is on the 20th of August (wonder why this week's is cancelled?), which is a good opportunity to speak to the COMMUNITY. But the 20th is far away. Make noise about this. Get in contact with Patti. Bring food to the people. Get together with your 'groups' and create a statement- spread it far and wide. Offer your yard on which to serve food... the possibilities are there- but please do something ASAP.

This is Patti's website: http://pattiswagons.com/outreach.html

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Loss of a comrade!!

Walnut Creek lost an advocate for the homeless on the 29 of July 2008.
(Full Article)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lies, lies and more lies…

by rocketpoetry

Most common folk around the country will wake up tomorrow and read here and here that homelessness is on the decline.

The Housing and Urban Development released a report today claiming that “chronic” homelessness in America is down 15 percent - that’s 52,000 fewer Americans on the streets.

The report captures street counts in 3,800 cities and counties around the country from October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2007.

Beyond the fact that it’s actually July of 2008 and street homelessness is visibly on the rise, it’s actually 2008 - 10 months after the fact! Haven’t I been hearing about a housing and banking collapse? That must be in my head. After all, I’m just another one of those crazy west coast housing activists. Really, I don’t know shit.

I mean there’s no reason to think that the Bush Administration would be lying to us, or that the media might not be asking hard questions.

“At the beginning of his Administration, President Bush set a goal to end chronic homelessness in America,” said a statement released by the White House Press Office. “Today, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Preston reported that the Administration has continued to make progress on this goal.” The statement further noted that the new results demonstrate that “targeted, focused resources can achieve measurable results.”

I mean we know how much the Bush Administration cares about targeted, focused resources that can achieve goals.

I’m amazed that more insiders and local governments have not spoken out on the truths of the 10-year plan to end homelessness. Of course, honesty does mean dollars - or the lack there of. What gives?

Back in 2007 I was slapped on the wrist by advocates claiming that I was fucking up their political will to end homelessness when I spoke out of turn to the Portland Tribune. But the reality is, street homelessness was no more on the decline then as it is now - it’s just in how the establishment spins and frames such figures.

Tim Harris, the Director of Real Change up in Seattle wrote a great piece this week - where the spin factor is in full effect.

The reality is things are not quiet on the western front. In fact, it’s a bit noisy and hard to concentrate.

The problem we find ourselves faced with is that when the federal government says jump, we all get in line to jump. The spin rolls downhill - from the Beltway to state and local governments, to affordable housing and homeless advocates, we all have to swallow the hard pill, fix the numbers and make it look like we are somehow winning the war on poverty - horseshit.

Chronic homelessness is a term used for individuals that have been on the streets for more than year. It does not include anyone that is doubled-up, children, families, etc. It more or less is a way to target the hardcore - which is fine so long as we don’t exclude thousands of individuals falling into homelessness and individuals living on the fringe of society - fading in and out of a stable living environment.

The failure of the 10-year plan also lies in the idea that homelessness is an individuals fault and not a byproduct of any number of things ranging from the war on drugs, mental health, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, on and on and on. My good friend Paul Boden captures this reality in a story that appeared in Street Roots in early July.

Finally, we have failed to recognize how much criminalization of people experiencing homelessness has played into the failure of addressing the problem at hand. On one hand we are told the 10-year plan to end homelessness is helping those hard to reach individuals that find themselves fallen through the cracks time and again through the criminal justice system, while on the other we enforce BS laws that create thousands upon thousands of individuals forced to live with criminal records and no way to gain access to housing. Bassackwards.

In short, regardless of the spin coming from Washington D.C., the federal governments 10-year plan to end homelessness is fucked. And I’m an optimist. And it’s as simple as that…

Friday, July 25, 2008

LAPD Officers Caught on Tape Assaulting a Homeless Man in Skid Row

Incident Occurs Just Two Days after Police Commission Reduces
Punitive Measures for Officers Who Use Force


On the morning of July 24, 2008, LAPD officers brazenly assaulted a homeless man in front of scores of witnesses. The incident, partially videotaped by the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), is yet another example of the brutality experienced by Skid Row residents under Mayor Villaraigosa’s highly publicized “Safer City Initiative.” The graphic video shows police officers kneeing the man in his mid-section and striking him forcefully in the head with clenched fists. Screams can be heard in the background pleading for the officers to stop. After at least a dozen additional officers and paramedics arrive on the scene, the man was taken away in an ambulance. Witnesses stated that the man was simply eating sunflower seeds on the sidewalk when police approached him and started assaulting him.

Notably, this unnecessary use of force came just two days after the Police Commission approved Chief Bratton’s proposal to reduce discipline and oversight in “use of force” incidents.

In an attempt to stop the ongoing human rights violations in downtown LA, including unnecessary use of force, LA CAN has empowered residents with video cameras and legal information regarding their right to document police officers in the course of their duty. While this Community Watch program has been instrumental in reducing civil rights violations by LAPD, this latest incident shows that there is still much work to be done in ending the longstanding oppression of the Skid Row community.

Please visit the link below to view the video part of the beating and a witness statement on youtube. Copies can also be obtained from LA CAN, as well as additional witness statements.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Video captures righteous indignation.

Before the rage, the resignation and the tears, came the trust. Teen-aged prisoner Omar Khadr seemed sure that his countrymen from Canada had come to Cuba to help him and spoke freely when they asked questions.

On the second day, the reality almost visibly dawned on his face. Agents had asked about his links to al-Qaeda, about his friends and family in Afghanistan, about whether he really thought dozens of black-eyed virgins awaited him in janna, or paradise.
(Watch video here)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pentagon's new "Pet" project

This is a video of the next innovation in "clearing homeless encampments!"
(Check This Out!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Powerful new S.F. landmarks board proposed

A new San Francisco commission would be given wide powers to protect buildings and areas considered historically important, under a proposal to be reviewed at City Hall Wednesday.(Full Article)

Mortgage Crisis Hits 2 Million U.S. Children

Children's advocates say the impacts of the housing and foreclosure crisis are being felt in K-12 classrooms and communities across the country.(READ FULL ARTICLE)
(More)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Video Clips of Mayor Bloomberg's Trial; Major Legislative Victory on Vacant Property at the State Level!

Dear Friends,

We have posted 12 video clips from last week's trial on YouTube! For those of you who couldn't make it, we have all the highlights - the verdict! the sentence! the heart-rending testimony! the dazzling costumes! the flashy props!:
http://www.picturethehomeless.org/blog/node/41

They can also be viewed, along with 40 other excellent videos from Picture the Homeless, at our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/picturethehomeless

The excellent blog OnNYTurf.com ran a great piece on the action, along with photos from our Flickr stream...: http://www.onnyturf.com/

AND! on June 20th, both chambers of the New York State legislature passed a groundbreaking piece of legislation that eradicates a major incentive for landlords to keep property vacant as a means of real estate speculation. The bill removes the current special tax treatment for vacant land north of 110th Street in Manhattan... Taxing these properties at normal rates will produce an estimated $5 million in new revenues. The bill also features a component to incentivize the development of affordable units on these sites.

This legislation is a direct result of our Housing Campaign's work to stop landlords from keeping buildings empty. The bill was developed at the behest of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, after his collaboration with Picture the Homeless in developing and executing the first-ever Manhattan Abandoned Building and Vacant Lot Count. Following this count, which revealed enough potential apartments in vacant buildings and lots in Manhattan alone to house the entire homeless population of New York City, six separate city and state legislative initiatives were introduced to tackle the
problem... including the "Housing, Not Warehousing" Legislation, written by Picture the Homeless and Council Member Tony Avella: http://www.picturethehomeless.org/housing

For more details on the State legislation: http://www.nyssenate28.com/28/news/08-06-20/serrano_and_farrell_pass_vacant_properties_bill.aspx

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Camp4Unity: The Video

Great video of Real Change Organizing Project campaign against police sweeps in Seattle, Wa.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stand Up for Justice: Witness Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Trial this Tuesday!!

Help us deliver the verdict afterwards!
Tuesday, June 24th from 1pm to 3:30

In the People's Court, this Tuesday, homeless New Yorkers will present our evidence to a panel of judges and a jury of his peers. The people will show that Mayor Bloomberg's disastrous Five Year Plan to Reduce Homelessness is not only failing to reduce homelessness, it is turning a blind eye to the causes of homelessness, and in many ways, promoting policies that perpetuate homelessness through gentrification, warehousing of vacant apartments and poverty maintanence.

Evidence gathered from the experience of homeless New Yorkers and from the Department of Homeless Services own statistics, <http://www.picturethehomeless.org/blog/node/38> the people will show the failure of this Administration to solve the housing crisis is a failure measured in wasted money, damaged lives and damaged communities.

Join us after the trial to loudly deliver the Verdict to Mayor Bloomberg!


Judges: Episcopal Archdeacon Michael Kendall
Brenda Stokely, Coalition to Save Harlem, NY Solidarity Coalition with Katrina/Rita Survivors; Former President of Local 215, Social Service Employees and President of DC 1707, AFSCME.
Owen Rogers, Picture the Homeless leader, President of the Council of Black Catholics for Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.



Testifyers: Leaders of Picture the Homeless, members of the New York City Council, faith leaders, and members of Community Voices Heard, and New York City Aids Housing Network (list still in formation!), and anonymous testimony submitted by Department of Homeless services staff.


St Bartholomew's Church
In the Chapel
Park Ave and 51st St
1:30 to 3pm

Call 646 314 6423 for more information or to volunteer!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sisters Of The Road & Street Roots deliver postcards asking for the repeal of the camping and sit-lie lie ordinances


Activists deliver 2,000 signatures protesting city’s ‘abhorrent laws’
By Joanne Zuhl
Staff writer

Advocates for people on the streets filled City Council Chambers June 11, unfurling nearly 2,000 postcards signed by residents calling for the repeal of the city’s sit-lie and anti-camping ordinances. The campaign to repeal the laws was organized by Sisters of the Road and Street roots. Patrick Nolen, community organizer with Sisters, addressed the council, including new commissioner Nick Fish, and called for the city to end what he called "these abhorrent laws."

The so-called sit-lie law draws its name from barring people from sitting or lying on downtown sidewalks between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The camping ordinance prohibits people from sleeping outdoors on public property.
"Between these two laws, sit-lie and anti-camping, it is effectively illegal to be homeless in Portland’s downtown core," Nolen told the council. "The sit-lie law has been in effect since August 2007: Not once has a person who was not homeless been cited. Not once."

Nolen said the city’s own leadership admits that the city lacks enough low-income housing units and shelter beds to house everyone who is homeless in Portland, but persists in punishing people for "meeting basic needs: sleep and rest."
Sisters of the Road recently withdrew it’s membership from the Street Access for Everyone, or SAFE oversight committee, citing the continued enforcement of the sit-lie law, which the original SAFE committee recommended. The committee was established to address street disorders, such as aggressive panhandling, public intoxication and low-level crimes. In the process it re-instated a sit-lie ban, with the promise of establishing a day access center for people on the streets, and installing benches and bathrooms. Nolen, along with Sisters Associate Director Michael Buonocore resigned from the committee in May, saying the city has failed to deliver on those promises, while continuing to enforce the sit-lie law, which they say, targets homeless people. Buonocore said at the time that Sisters would like to have the committee vote to recommend a repeal of the law, but that there were not enough votes to support such a motion.

Soon after Sisters resignation, it partnered with Street Roots to launch the postcard campaign.


"These postcards come from all over, business owners, people living without housing, local politicians and citizens from every economic background,” Nolen said. “Each person that took the time to write is a murmur, a part of a louder voice, a louder voice demanding our rights."

Nolen said that similar laws are being challenged all along the West Coast.

"Each city, whether it is Fresno, Seattle, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, are all fighting to repeal laws that criminalize people for doing nothing more than trying to exist. Portland has a chance to be at the forefront of this march towards civil rights for all, because Portland belongs to all of us."
The Council made no comments on the presentation.

“We were amazed when doing outreach what a broad base of neighborhood activists, business owners and residents agreed with the idea that the sit-lie law and camping ordinance are human rights violations because they target a specific population in our society,” said Street Roots Director Israel Bayer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Huge success this morning, but it's not over!

Real Change, Seattle
June 9th, 2008

Last night, over 125 people filled tents across City Hall Plaza.

This morning, Women in Black read 283 reasons to keep fighting this fight...the 283 people who have died while trying to survive outside since 2000.

And just a few hours ago, fifteen committed people were arrested for pitching a tent in the middle of Cherry St., demanding that the city halt business as usual, while a crowd chanted support.

This morning was a great success for Real Change and everyone who has been working to stop these inhumane and punitive policies against homeless people. But we still need your support.

Right now, dedicated supporters are flooding the mayor's office with calls, urging him to halt all non-emergency sweeps, and open real negotiations with Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless to fix his immoral and woefully inadequate policy. It's vital that the mayor yield to public pressure, stop punishing people for surviving outside, and work to create a policy that involves the people affected and provides for real accountability.

Please call the mayor at 206-684-4000. Tell him to halt all non-emergency sweeps immediately, and tell him to negotiate with Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless for a policy that really protects the rights of those on the streets. Add your voice to the community's, and stop the sweeps!

Thank you for your support! And a huge thank-you to Women in Black, the Interfaith Task Force On Homelessness, Operation Sack Lunch, Food Not Bombs, Heroes for the Homeless, and everyone else who provided food, blankets, and moral support last night and this morning!

Sincerely,

The Real Change Organizing Project


For more information about the Real Change Organizing Project contact Natalie
natalien@realchangenews.org
206.441.3247 X 206

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Anti-sit/lie challenge

Sisters of the road is leading the way to repeal sit/lie ordinance. (Full Article)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

National Housing Crisis Scapegoats: Renters

Even after paying your rent does NOT insure your living space!! (Full Article)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NO more jails; NO more lies; NO more deaths

May 23, 2008


Dear Activist,

Save the date: Camp4Unity, Sunday, June 8th

The Mayor's protocols outlining how the city will conduct encampment clearances were released last month, and there is no substantial improvement. During a City Council committee meeting in early May, councilmembers in attendance listened intently while a dozen homeless advocates from the Real Change Organizing Project spoke from the heart on matters of loopholes, lack of oversight, criminalization of the poor, and many other concerns with on-going homeless sweeps. No changes are expected.
While the new protocols slightly improve provisions for notification, outreach, and storage of possessions, new loopholes were introduced that undermine the protections offered by severely limiting their application.

- Protections are denied to those who are not camped in groups
- Entire areas will soon be defined as permanent no-trespass zones where, again, the protocols will not apply.
- There are no external oversight and accountability measures.

Don't believe the City spin. These protocols are unacceptable and illegitimate. Resist the criminalization of survival in a time of growing homelessness and inadequate resources. Join the Real Change Organizing Project to Camp4Unity! No more sweeps. No more jails. No more lies. No more deaths.

Help us show the Mayor that we want all Seattle citizens to be safe - especially the most vulnerable. We demand a stop to the sweeps until the protocols have been rewritten to remove the loopholes, ensure access to services for anyone who needs them, and provide real oversight. Join us.

Camp4Unity
Sunday, June 8th - Monday, June 9th
Come for part of the event or for all of it!

Sunday, June 8th:
6 pm - 7 pm
Refreshments and setup

7 pm - 10 pm
Among friends and allies: A time for talk.

Monday, June 9th:
8 am - 9 am
Breakfast and visibility

9 am - 10 am
Memorial service for those who have died while surviving outside

For more information or to register contact Natalie
natalien@realchangenews.org
206.441.3247 X 206

Mission Accomplished, American Style


The current hot trend in addressing homelessness in America’s cities is, once again, to remove panhandlers from downtown corridors. Lately the Bush administration – through their Interagency Council on Homelessness – has lauded Denver, Colorado and its 10-year planning process for coming up with one of the 20 Major Innovations this year. This major innovation that President Bush is so enamored with? Have people put change in old parking meters that the City then collects for United Way, rather than giving alms directly to people who are panhandling.

Clearly another case of “Mission Accomplished!!”

These panhandling meters are to homelessness what weapons of mass destruction were to the invasion of Iraq: a public relations ploy to achieve a government policy objective. Just as the Iraq invasion was really about oil for multinational corporations, these dumbass meters are really about removing poor people from downtown commercial areas. Denver officials told the SF Chronicle that the meter program there has not been lucrative, but panhandlers have seemed to disappear where they went up. Not to be deterred by facts, Team Bush has declared amazing results in Denver: $15,000 raised and a 92% reduction in panhandling. Plans are to get “more businesses to adopt meters” (at $1,000 a pop) and to hire local artists to spiff them up and make them more “visible and attractive,” which – when you think about it – raises an interesting question. If the initial crop of meters got rid off 92% of the panhandlers, why do a nicer, prettier version? Wouldn’t a pit bull design be more appropriate for that hard core 8% with the audacity to still be in public space?

Not concerned with contradictions and illogical facts, other cities are following suit. Baltimore installed some panhandling meters with similar “no money but damn, those immobile inanimate objects sure do scare away panhandlers!” results. And now San Francisco has announced plans to launch yet another in a long line of anti-panhandling campaigns, following this “innovative model.”

Cities and people are vexed with the realities of increasing income disparities and homelessness, but has the Bush administration developed any meaningful or substantive policy plans to address either income disparity or homelessness? Besides spending the past 7 years requiring local communities to write 10-Year Plans to End Homelessness while gutting funding for affordable housing and treatment services, what the fuck have these guys done?

They write blank checks to the military-industrial complex, putting us all in massive, never-before-seen levels of debt. They dole out Corporate Welfare that would require all of us spending 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year putting all our money into panhandling meters to match even a fraction of it. They are currently working in Congress to redefine the federal definition of who is homeless, so as to reduce the US population of homeless people DOWN to the 700,000 people they claim it to be (the 900,000 children listed as homeless in our Public Schools by the Department of Education will disappear quicker than the panhandlers in Denver), and they bail out the bankers while millions of middle- and low-income people are losing their homes to foreclosure.

Team Bush praises spare change panhandling meters as an “Innovative Solution” to homelessness, and they spend millions of dollars flying their henchman around the country to promote this and other “Innovative” ideas like using Police Officers as Outreach workers. It’s ironic. The feds created homelessness with draconian cuts to subsidized housing, and now it’s the local governments that are panhandling with meters and arresting homeless people for sleeping outdoors.
San Francisco is faced with a $300 million deficit, and has told service and treatment providers to anticipate a 20 to 30 percent reduction in the number of clients they will be able to serve next year. Many public health and homeless programs that have been serving thousands of poor people every year will be forced to close. Yet 6 months ago the Mayor found $200,000 to invest in a Homeless Coordinator who needed to do something or risk being seen as irrelevant in the face of these serious budget cuts. Presto, an innovative new idea “to see if we can save some lives out there.” Panhandling Parking Meters!! Now the Mayor’s office wants another $500,000 for 2 holding cells (ie, jail cells) in a new “Community Justice Center” to detain people arrested for minor nonviolent offenses (ie, panhandling).

Don’t believe for a second poor people just suddenly “disappear” with these seemingly innocuous little anti-sleeping, anti-panhandling, anti-loitering programs. Local jail cells are overflowing with them.

“Mission Accomplished,” my ass.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Support the HEARTH Act!

Maxine Water’s Housing committee staffperson
Jonathan Harwitz
(202) 226-3503
Jonathan.hawitz@mail.house.com
(Copy & Paste into e-mail)

Subject: Support the HEARTH Act!

Join Six National Organizations to Support the HEARTH Act!

In June, we expect the House Financial Services Committee to consider the HEARTH Act (H.R. 840). HEARTH is strong legislation that will re-write the rules governing HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant programs, better enabling urban, suburban, and rural communities to end homelessness.

NPACH, First Focus, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, the National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and the National Network for Youth support the HEARTH Act as introduced. However, we understand that some changes will be made as the bill is considered by the Financial Services Committee. Unfortunately, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of Los Angeles is proposing a broad set of alterations to HEARTH through a "manager's amendment." The changes being supported by Congresswoman Waters would turn HEARTH into a bill that is almost identical to the Community Partnership to End Homelessness Act (S. 1518) - Senate legislation that NPACH has opposed.

Please call House Members and urge them to support HEARTH as it is - legislation that provides a reasonably expanded definition of homelessness, permits greater local flexibility in addressing homelessness, and ensures broad community participation in local planning to end homelessness.



Read NPACH's Full Response to the HEARTH Managers Amendment (Here!)

Click Here to Call Your House Member and Support HEARTH!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Panhandling VS. Panhandlers


San Francisco is panhandling to put panhandlers out of business (Full Article)

Other Cities doing same game (Full Article)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sisters Of The Road leaves SAFE committee

Sisters Of The Road Announces Decision to End its Participation in
the Mayors Street Access for Everyone (SAFE) Workgroup

Portland, Oregon (May 8, 2008)  Sisters Of The Road (Sisters) Community Organizer Patrick Nolen and Associate Director Michael Buonocore announced the decision that Sisters would not continue as a member of the SAFE Workgroup at its May 8 meeting.

We were assured that the enforcement of the SAFE sit-lie ordinance would not target homeless individuals. It has been shown to do exactly that said Nolen.

The SAFE Workgroup was established by the Portland City Council on May 24, 2006 , developing Five Strategies for a More Livable Portland. According to the Executive Summary of this process on the Mayors website, The Workgroup emphasized that consensus around this strategy would not endure unless all five parts are implemented together.

Sisters staff representatives on the SAFE oversight committee noted that the services associated with these strategies, including day access center space, public restrooms and benches, have not been implemented in a timely and adequate manner. In deliberating whether Sisters would continue to participate in the oversight committee, it was highlighted that the future day access center is two years from completion and the current interim locations do not have the capacity
described in the Mayors Executive Summary of SAFE (Dec. 2006). It was also noted that the strategies for providing adequate public seating and restrooms are not met.

By contrast, the strategy of a High Pedestrian Traffic Area (or sit-lie) ordinance that prohibits anyone from sitting or lying on a
public sidewalk between 7 am and 9 pm has been fully implemented.

Most importantly, this sit-lie ordinance strategy has amplified the tragedy of the existing anti-camping ordinance, which also
criminalizes those who have nowhere to sleep at night. Between these two laws, it is effectively illegal to be homeless in Portland, a city in which our elected officials acknowledge that there are not enough shelter beds, day access, transitional and affordable housing for all of our citizens said Buonocore.

Added Monica Beemer, Executive Director of Sisters Of The Road, We appreciate the work and good intentions of those involved in the SAFE Workgroup. We agreed to participate in the process in the spirit of collaboration, to ensure that the aforementioned services were implemented and that homeless people were not targeted by the ordinance. That has clearly not been an effective use of our time, which we now recognize would be better spent advocating for the repeal of the unjust anti-camping and sit-lie ordinances.

Sisters Of The Road has called on Portlanders to immediately contact their elected officials and demand the repeal of these ordinances, which is punishing to thousands of Portlanders who lack adequate, safe and affordable shelter.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Homeless rise up on the streets to fight anti-camping and sit-lie ordinance


Individuals experiencing homelessness and activists have been camping on City Hall for nearly three-weeks. The group is calling itself the Homeless Liberation Front.
  • Portland Homeless Liberation Front


  • The group has ranged from 10 to 70 individuals who have been sleeping on the sidewalk in front of City Hall demanding an end to the anti-camping and sit-lie ordinances. The camping ordinance is used to clear camps out throughout Portland, while the sit-lie ordinance criminalizes sitting or lying on a public sidewalk from 7AM to 7PM.

    In late April, a group of individuals were swept from under the Burnside and Morrison bridges in downtown Portland. The group marched to City Hall in the dead on night in defiance of the ordinances.

    On Monday, May 5, four individuals from the camp met personally with the Mayor. Protestors demanded an end to the ordinances. The mayor declined. No resolution was reached.

    The city has opened more than 100 emergency shelter beds until June in response to the protestors. Both individuals on the streets and homeless advocates say that's not enough.

    On Saturday, May 10, seven individuals were arrested – six for interfering with a police officer and one for resisting arrest.

    Patrick Nolan, community organizer with Sisters Of The Road caught the arrests on film.



    Shortly after the arrests an illegal camping notice was posted in front of City Hall, giving protesters until Tuesday, May 13, to clear the area or risk arrest.

    On Sunday, May 11, the group formally signed a letter asking the Mayor to meet again this week.

    More to come.

    Note: Street Roots has been following the protests and is working on an in-depth news story for the Friday, May 16, edition. The newspaper also came out against the camping ordinance on May 5, asking City Hall to “suspend the camping ordinance in designated regions of the City of Portland until all nine-action steps have been implemented, and the 10-year plan to end homelessness is complete. 

Street Roots believes it is cruel and unusual punishment to continue to criminalize individuals experiencing homelessness from sleeping on public property when the City of Portland can’t offer any real, concrete solutions to the crisis until a projected 2015.”

    Both Street Roots and Sisters Of The Road, both WRAP members have officially asked for the suspension of the anti-camping and the sit-lie ordinance.

    Posted by Israel Bayer

    Photo by Kristina Wright

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Homeless, Tired of foreclosures, Reclaim Vacant Government Homes


    Wednesday May 7th

    NHPP led a march of poor and homeless families for housing, Wednesday which culminated with the takeover of vacant HUD homes. The march began at 1:00 p.m. in front of the Metro Court House then proceeded to Dickerson Road, an area that has been recently rezoned for luxury development. The homeless group is concerned that redevelopment will again prioritize luxury over necessity and may push poor families out of the area. “In this time of foreclosures, many of us are facing homelessness. We need our city to prioritize poor and working families above luxury development. Despite repeated promises from local government the homeless are left the die in the streets while their demand for housing is ignored” said Clemmie Greenlee, formerly homeless grandmother and organizer with the Power Project.

    The march then became a caravan and participants were driven to Tom Joy Elementary School where the group held a brief prayer vigil for the estimated 1,800 homeless school children in the Nashville area. The march ended where one of the vacant HUD homes has been reclaimed. Homeless people vow not to leave the homes voluntarily.

    Cheri Honkala, National Organizer of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, also participated in the march and takeover and cited the City of Nashville for “ their failure to address the homeless crisis and rise in foreclosures. “ Representatives of the power project vow that the May 7th march and takeover is the next step in a fight that will not end until everyone has access to safe and affordable housing. Jeannie Alexander, program director of the Power Project further stated that the takeover was the first public takeover of a vacant HUD home by the Power Project but that the organization has “covertly taken over more than a dozen other vacant houses in the city” and will continue to take additional houses “as long as there are people who do not have homes.”

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    Violent Crimes Against Homeless People on the Rise

    Washington, DC, April 29, 2008 – Today the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) released the 2007 numbers on the epidemic of hate crimes and violent attacks against homeless Americans.
    Article

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Positive sign!!


    An artists way of posting a different sign of the times!!
    MORE

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Community Organizers Opposed to Downtown Gentrification Arrested for the 2nd Time in Two Months


    Just minutes after intervening in an unlawful search of an African American woman, three African American organizers are detained at gunpoint;
    Two are assaulted and injured; One is incarcerated


    On Thursday April 10, 2008 at approximately 9:30 PM, community organizers responding to a report of police abuse in downtown Los Angeles find themselves victims of police brutality and illegal arrest.

    LA CAN community organizers received a call Thursday evening reporting that an unidentified African-American woman was handcuffed and being searched on 5th and Los Angeles streets. LA CAN operates a CommunityWatch program that monitors police abuse and compliance with court injunctions against LAPD in downtown Los Angeles. Joe Thomas and Steve Richardson took cameras to the scene and Herman Jones arrived in his vehicle. The woman was released and she explained that LAPD had just jacked her up for nothing, saying they were looking for drugs.

    Thomas, Richardson and Jones then left the scene by car to investigate and monitor police activities because historically poor, Black residents have been mistreated by police in an attempt to keep them away from Downtown’s trendy ArtWalk, which was happening that evening. LAPD officers followed them and conducted a "felony stop" while the car was simply stopped at a red light - meaning guns were drawn and all three were cuffed and searched, although no crime had been committed. After the three were handcuffed, Thomas was dragged down the street and hit by officers and Richardson was brutally choked and held down by multiple officers. When witnesses with cameras arrived on the scene, the officers stopped the illegal behavior and uncuffed Jones and Thomas, instructing them that they were free to go. Richardson was arrested on the charge of "resisting arrest" and was incarcerated. The arresting officer stated that he grabbed two fingers of one of the officers while he was being held down in handcuffs and that was the basis of their charge. Both Richardson and Thomas sustained injuries to their fingers, wrists and necks and received medical treatment for these injuries.
    There were 10 to 15 officers on the scene when additional witnesses arrived, the majority in plain clothes without badge identification. Officers were asked for their names, badge and serial numbers, which they are obligated to provide pursuant to Federal Consent Decree, on multiple occasions and all but two officers refused to give witnesses their information. The ranking officer was asked to provide information for identification purposes later at Central Division Headquarters and he again refused. This refusal was recorded via camera phone.
    This incident underscores an alarming and ongoing trend of police officers illegally arresting LA CAN organizers performing perfectly legal police monitoring duties. Just two months ago, Pete White of LA CAN was also arrested by Central Division officers while documenting a raid in a Skid Row residential hotel. The charges against him were later dismissed in the "interest of justice" and a federal civil rights lawsuit was subsequently filed. Community organizers have not been exempt from the widespread abuses under the Mayor’s Safer City Initiative, but the impacts reach much further to the thousands of poor and mostly Black residents targeted by the Initiative. The Inspector General has assigned a special team of investigators to monitor the large number of complaints.

    we are asking you to send emails to the Mayor’s office and the Police Commission this week to express your opposition to the targeting of LA CAN during police monitoring, your opposition to the aggressive and often illegal tactics of LAPD under the Safer Cities Initiative, and your demand for a response to the community to stop these abuses. The emails can be very short and direct – we know you are all very busy. We just want them to hear from a wide range of people again. The contact info is below.

    Larry.frank@lacity.org
    Rafael.gonzalez@lacity.org
    Leonard.jackson@lacity.org

    Police Commissioners: V8834@lapd.lacity.org
    Anthony Pacheco, John Mack, Andrea Ordin, Robert Saltzman, and Alan Skobin

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Mayor's speech disrupted by 5

    LA mayor's speech for lights on skid row protested by "Hippie Kitchen" (Full Article)

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    Capitol N.I.M.B.Y.ism

    Sacramento neighborhood claims getting housing for homeless creates homelessness?!
    (Full Story)

    A plea for tolerance

    One man's experience and realization!

    (Page One)
    (Page Two)

    Monday, March 31, 2008

    Oregon County to address inequality & social injustice

    King county is taking steps to live up to its "namesake", Martin Luther King, Jr! (Full Article)
    March 25, 2008

    You've probably heard that King County is launching an attack on unfairness. by J. Large (Full Article) March 17, 2008

    Good health is not just about good health care. by J. Large (Full Article) March 31, 2008

    From hustler to healthy

    "The Farm" run by St. Anthony's has been a recovery program for 50 years, helping men and women defeat their demons. (Full Article)

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Homeless blamed for one mans tech-attack

    Bar owner builds bot to terrorize neighborhood. (Full Article)

    Homeless intervention through medical care

    Portland medical services help homeless lower costs(Full Article)

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Beyond the New Deal

    Published on Friday, March 21, 2008 by The Nation
    by Howard Zinn
    “Our nation is in crisis, just as it was when Roosevelt took office. At that time, people desperately needed help, they needed jobs, decent housing, protection in old age."
    Beyond the New Deal

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Plaques for rememberance & solutions

    Artist has a need to honor the passing of homeless persons(Page 1 Page 2)

    Homeless must wear colored armbands

    California city evicts non-local homeless!!(Full Article)

    I.D's, Police and evictions!!(Full Article)

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Just how do officials count?!?


    Two articles about the same event one (Full Article) from our "media friends" and the other
    (Full Article) by advocate.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    The assult continues...Personal vendetta!?

    Art provided by WRAP
    Artist/ Art Hazelwood

    Has the blame game has turned a strange corner in the eye(I) of the ME-d-I-a??
    The latest attack on the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco! (Full Article)

    And again!!(Full Article)

    Wednesday, March 5, 2008

    POLICE!! FREEZE!!!

    Vermont Towns issue arrest warrants for Prez & Veep (Full Article)







    Reuters photo

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    A Reveailing Truth


    Sisters of the Road Advocate Patrick Nolan enlightens media on the true strife of homelessness!
    (Full Article)



    Photo at above: Patrick & "Matt" sleep out
    Photo by Chris Ryan of The Portland Mercury

    Friday, February 29, 2008

    Real Change Organizing Project


    Photo above is from the homeless civil rights demonstration December 19, 2007


    **Dear friend,
    The 2008 One Night Count found more than 2,600 persons surviving outside in greater Seattle on a winter night when emergency shelters were full.
    Meanwhile, the Mayor's Office continues to pursue a policy of demolishing homeless people's encampments and throwing away their property without providing any alternative shelter. It is inhumane and immoral to punish people for living outside when there is not enough shelter or affordable housing to meet the need.

    Mayor Nickels should stop all non-emergency sweeps immediately and expand housing and services instead of criminalizing survival. Join me in signing a petition telling the Mayor to help, not harass, homeless people.

    You might also be interested to know that on March 13th, Real Change is organizing a campout at City Hall, along with a full day of demonstrations around downtown to turn up the heat on this issue. They need sign wavers and petition gatherers for daytime shifts on the 13th, people to bring a tent and a friend and spend the night at City Hall, and people to come help take
    down the temporary encampment on Friday the 14th.

    Sign up to help, or sign a petition calling for an end to the sweeps at
    "HERE"

    For more information, contact Natalie at 206-441-3247 ext. 213.**

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    New community service center angers residence

    A SSG diversion center, at the Little Toyko lofts, was designed to be useful for homeless with mental health and substance abuse problems. (Full Article)

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Broward County attack homeless

    Police officer dresses as homeless, to defend, crashes Urban Core Committee of the Broward Workshop. (Full Article)

    Poison of the poor young mind

    The U.S. governments irresponsible, disreguard of poverty stricken children only keeps them in stuck in the same position of their parents. (Full Article)

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Seattle groups team up to change policy

    SHARE/WHEEL & Church of Mary Magdalene are trying to get city to change it's homeless encampment policy! (Full Article)

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    S.F. mayor to add spit and polish to shelter system

    Revamping the city's two largest shelters a priority for mayor Newsome. (Full Article)

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Poor mental health clients get no more rooms

    For-profit gets turned down to free up emergency beds (Full Article)

    Thursday, February 7, 2008

    Sacramento homeless count

    After reading this story, counts remain high and affirmation of the Without Housing report. (Full Article)

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    The de-construction of public housing in S.F.

    The plan from their view is to replace old units (they don't say how many!) with 2200 Hope IV type units. (Full Article)

    Daly's proposal for 50% more affordable housing in Bayview (Full Article)

    Monday, February 4, 2008

    L.A.P.D. Detains W.R.A.P. members for crossing street


    Under Safer Cities, LAPD has been using parole status – both legally and illegally – to increase harassment and arrests of downtown residents and to incite fear of low-income community residents. On Friday, LAPD planned a parole raid on a hotel near 5th and Towne. There were at least 30 LAPD officers and 10 parole agents on site. Someone called our office and Pete and Gerald went to document the raid. Pete had the camera and within minutes of being there and taking pictures, was cuffed and against the wall, and was publicly detained for more than 20 minutes. He repeatedly asked for a supervisor and for officers’ cards and got none. Dogon arrived with a second camera and began documenting the illegal detention. Within minutes of him filming, he was also cuffed and up against the wall. They ran him for warrants and claimed they found a felony warrant – one officer told Dogon – “we really got you now.” Of course later, they claimed it was a “mistake” – it was a different Richardson. When they released Dogon, still on the sidewalk, they also gave him a ticket stating, “observed pedestrian cross street against don’t walk sign,” although Dogon had arrived on a bicycle. Instead of releasing Pete on-site, they transported him to Central Station. When he got there, followed by 6 additional officers, they told him he was being charged with “walking in the roadway” and he needed to sign the citation to leave. Needless to say, he didn’t sign, since he didn’t commit that offense and that was not why they detained and transported him. They booked him and he spent the day at 77th Street jail.

    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    Seattle areas new panhandling law

    Issaquah still misses the root cause of homelessness.(Full Article)

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    Hudson County faces uphill battle.

    N.J. county affordable housing very slim. (Full Article)

    Windy City gets $49 Million

    U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today presented Chicago Mayor Richard Daley with $49 million in grants to support more than 150 homeless programs in the Windy City.(Full Article)