Press Release Dec., 7, 09′
for immediate release contact 445-8733
Eureka police crackdown and close self managing shelter providing food and safe sleeping for those without homes
Police last night surrounded, made arrests then tore down the month old tent shelter complex set up at the Eureka City Hall, Humboldt Co., Calif., under siege by the Eureka Council, warning this weekend they would not tolerate this safe haven much longer.This encampment has fulfilled the immediate needs of people without homes, who daily face harsher weather conditions of night cold and/or rains. They’re a people neither permitted on private or public lands. Where are they to go?
Among us are older folks, including numbers of vets, some handicapped with broken bodies, folks terribly stressed by their lives, those who’ve lost jobs, mothers and fathers, and many young, with all kinds of professional, academic and hard working backgrounds, all appreciative of a safe haven and still intent upon not just survival, but making a life.
We ask everyone who hears this message to help by reaching the Eureka City Council and other City officials in demanding real answers be offered to meet these immediate needs.
Eureka City Council members: One message for all 707- 441-4172
In talking with one city official Sunday, it was made clear we would be raided soon, and they ‘asked our cooperation’ in finding another place. We know of none, as surely as they do… precisely why we have been there. The threat of arrest and worse already drove most back to the streets for the night.
Warning signs of arrest and barricades were posted Friday around the City Hall parking lots where the encampment has set up each evening, providing home cooked food, and fresh bedding..and in the morning dismantled and gone before business begins. Police have been more obvious, cruising by often, one stopping to ticket or arrest some of the homeless on the sidewalk adjacent to the camping site for J walking or miscellaneous charges.
Police had originally and publicly stated if the encampment did not interfere with business, it was not their problem. The encampment has been open to all, turning no one away who needed a meal, but making clear to all that to stay and use the shelter, meant no drinking or drugs while there and monitored throughout the night.
City officials have asked what we want and been told:
1) People without homes need to have a safe space to sleep and cover themselves against
the weather, called “camping” by the city and criminalized.
2) People be given the right to manage such a space, without city oversight or police
3) City ordinances, which criminalize rest or sleep be eliminated, which are in direct
violation of the 8th Amendment to our Constitution… and thus resolving police enforcement.
of harassing, ticketing, confiscation of personal property and worse.
4) Lastly that it be recognized that the cities present position of planning and developing procedures for the future will obviously meet only a mere fraction of the critical need, regardless of when they finally take effect, while none of such city planning meets the immediate needs of the great many people without homes.
These same officials asked if we were prepared to manage a space provided for those without homes and were told; “Of course”, just as we’ve done for the past month at the doors of City Hall.
The ambivalence of city authorities and the community is an ongoing dilemma. On one hand great enthusiasm and benevolence by certain people, churches, the city and even official police endorsement for providing food and clothing during the day, but with nightfall, the city and police turning against their presence, sending the wrong message to the community at large, of city sponsored prejudice through enforcement of their illegal ordinances.
This direct action confronts a massive crisis situation faced by numerous cities, towns and counties throughout the U.S., being added to daily by economics and lost jobs.The times are so similar to what people faced in the Great Depression, the Hooverville’s and Grapes of Wrath, our own folk lore, our history as a people for everyone’s acknowledgement and understanding, but not if being ignored. Your neighbors and /or someone’s neighbors are losing their home every day…some having to find their way in the streets. Why this departure from our common sense and good will toward anyone’s financial crisis leading to even greater deprivations and mental stress?
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much;
but whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
This action has been a direct confrontation with city authorities over their long standing and aggressive treatment of people without homes, promoting community prejudice and hostility towards their already vulnerable and oppressed situation…. an unresolved human rights issue which ought never have been ignored nor postponed so long
Join PEOPLE PROJECT in the continuation of this crucial work.