Archive for January, 2010

This is a message from Verbena

Greetings all,

This is probably my least favorite task, but here we are again asking for money contributions… We need to pay rent and bills (we don’t use heat, so our bills aren’t too high, except for phone bills- which rise incredibly from jail calls). Also, due to continuous rain, every few days we need to wash and dry blankets, towels, and clothes -for lots of people.

We’re hoping to get another safe sleeping space going (grass roots style, of course) for people who otherwise have no safe sleeping place. Once again, we will be doing lots of laundry and needing miscellaneous supplies.

I know that money is scarce all around (at least for most ordinary folks), but if you can eek out any “spare change”, we can keep things together. We can keep PARC open and thriving and support the projects that we generate.

Please call if you want to drop off or mail any money: (707) 442-7465
Also, we still have the paypal account at the PARC webpage: parc.2truth.com

Please pass on this request if you know people who might contribute. Although, right now we need rent money for the beginning of February, donations at any time of the month are super appreciated.

Thank you!


FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL! http://redwoodcurtaincopwatch.net/node/375#node-375

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click here for VIDEO from Fresno

Posted by John Crockford on January 28, 2010

Police Evict Homeless People in Fresno…

read this Indybay article by Mike Rhodes, with photos

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Support Tent Cities! Support Safe Sleeping spaces for ALL!!

The below account is from a mainstream T.V. station, Jan 28, 2010

Homeless Resisting Move from Downtown Encampment

More than a dozen homeless people in downtown Fresno are being forced to move from their makeshift camp.

The homeless people are living in tents and sleeping on the ground on privately owned property at the corner of Ventura and F Street.

Work crews began showing up to fence off the property before noon but many of the homeless people living at the vacant lot refused to gather their belongings and leave and actually engaged in a shouting match with city officials.

One homeless man said, “I do not give them permission to enter my home without a valid court order or search warrant. I’m homeless… I live out here… this is my home.”

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, “The individuals that are on this property today are in violation of trespass laws. We are trying to work with them in terms of finding a solution; a long term and a short term solution.”

The city decided to extend the moving deadline until the end of the day to allow the homeless to gather their belongings and vacate the property. City officials say they are also giving out Section 8 housing voucher applications. [appropriately known as Section WAIT…]

If everything is not moved out by the end of the day on Thursday, the city will label the belongings and store them and the owners will have 90 days to pick them up.

Watch the TV news video: http://www.cbs47.tv/news/local/story/Homeless-Resisting-Move-from-Downtown-Encampment/7pXBprbjB0yCkkrEPOQtFQ.cspx

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April 4, 2010 to June 20, 2010!!!

As the nation observed the birthday of Martin Luther King, leaders of organizations of poor and homeless families, including Katrina survivors, clergy, USSF organizers and Detroit hosts…gathered in New Orleans to plan a national March and Caravan from New Orleans to the United States Social Forum in Detroit from early April to late June 2010….

Background from the initial call for the March, written in August

In 1998 the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) picked up the mantle of MLK and vowed to work until the dream was fulfilled.

“If you think we’re there, you can ignore this. But if you’re hurting, or your mother or your brother or your neighbor or friend is hurting, put on your walking shoes,” said Cheri Honkala, National Organizer of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC).

At its national conference in July, nearly 400 representatives of PPEHRC member organizations voted to organize the next phase of the campaign—a march from the Katrina-torn Gulf through the Mississippi Delta and on through the Rust Belt. The march will culminate in Detroit at the 2010 US Social Forum, which expects upwards of 20,000 participants from around the country and the globe. As was the case in the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, other marchers will follow Freedom Roads from other parts of the country to join the main branch, which will visibly unite south and north in their common cause. In 2003, PPEHRC recreated the 1968 Poor People’s March, caravanning from Marks, Mississippi to Washington, DC. Commemorating the 35th anniversary of the campaign planned by King before his assassination, organizers of that march pointed to the shameful lack of achievement of the original economic justice goals of jobs, housing, and health care. Since then things have gotten worse—much worse.

Organizations voted to organize the next phase of the campaign—a march from the Katrina-torn Gulf through the Mississippi Delta and on through the Rust Belt.

from PPEHRC: http://old.economichumanrights.org/USSF2010/USSF2010_why.shtml

Why are we marching?

Thousands will participate in this historic march and caravan to transform our nation and highlight the urgent need for guaranteed healthcare and housing for everyone in the United States. We are demanding that our government prioritize life over death by allocating some of the tremendous resources at its disposal to provide for the vital human needs of healthcare and housing.

Many countries around the world already offer these human rights to their citizens, but the US system reflects a different set of values.

Right now, in the richest country in the world, record numbers of people are experiencing homelessness and poverty while record profits are being made on Wall Street through the help of massive government bailouts for the rich. Poverty, homelessness, and unemployment are skyrocketing while trillions of dollars are being misappropriated to fight wars abroad. Millions of poor people in the US are being incarcerated, abandoned, and attacked by an economic and political system that prioritizes wealth over health and profits over people. We can and must do better.

In the final years of his life Dr. King refocused his vision from racial equality to economic justice, realizing that people of all colors living side-by-side in poverty was far short of a true victory for all people. He launched the Poor People’s Campaign in 1967 to unite poor people of all races to build a massive nonviolent movement to end poverty. He was assassinated for his efforts.

This Easter, The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign launches the March for Our Lives as a testament of resurrection. Out from the death of natural and unnatural disasters there is rising a poor people’s movement for life. Out from beneath the ruins of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and a devastating earthquake in Haiti, come the singing voices of the poor, the people who were struggling through miserable man-made disasters of poverty and injustice long before the ground literally shook below them. Today, economic inequality is worse than ever, but out of the darkness comes light. From the swelling ranks of the poor, nonviolent troops are organizing and mobilizing for peace and justice. In Detroit, the eye of the economic storm, we will gather our forces at the US Social Forum. A movement is growing to end poverty forever – to create a new life-affirming economy and a better world for everyone. Years after the assassination of Dr. King his words resound loudly and his dream is alive!

“The dispossessed of this nation — the poor, both white and Negro live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967

The March to Fulfill the Dream launches on April 4, 2010. This significant date is Easter Sunday, as well as the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. We begin in New Orleans, Louisiana and finish our march in Detroit, Michigan on June 20, 2010 for the U.S. Social Forum.

We demand guaranteed healthcare and housing for everyone in the United States.

Rising from the ruins of economic storms, we unite – poor people, homeless people, social workers, activists, artists, musicians, people of faith, students, healthcare workers, lawyers, and more – we rebuild!

Join us. Build the movement to end poverty!

Download the route map!

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An Open Letter to a Mayor Reluctant to Decriminalize Homelessness



Last week, criminalization of the homeless in Boulder, Colorado got the attention of End Homelessness readers as grassroots activists fought to put an end to a camping ordinance that unfairly targets the homeless. Thanks to Change.org readers and a protest organized by the homeless and their supporters, Mayor Susan Osborne agreed to make camping tickets a priority. She also ordered her city manager to write up an emergency moratorium on camping tickets. It looked like a victory. But politics being what they are, Mayor Osborne backslid. The following is an open letter to Mayor Osborne.

Sign our petition to keep the pressure on Boulder’s leadership.

Dear Mayor Osborne,

I’m writing to you because we want the same things. We share this little city and want it to be a safe place for everyone, both the homeless and the housed, those alone on the streets and those at home with families, the wealthy and the not-so-much, small business owners and the unemployed. I write to you as a friend because I know we share a desire to end criminalization of the homeless in Boulder and uphold the human rights of every single citizen. That’s why you became mayor; that’s why I write about and work with the homeless.

I read this weekend in the local paper that you felt “boxed in” by petitioners and protesters at the Boulder city council meeting last Tuesday. You said this pressure was largely the reason you promised to consider an emergency ordinance putting a temporary halt to ticketing homeless people for sleeping in public places.

Now it looks as if you’ve rescinded that promise, citing the need to reconsider without the interference of a public meeting or the review of the citizens who elected you. The paper made it sound as if you only agreed to stop punishing the homeless because you were intimidated by all the protesters. That’s disappointing, because it’s exactly the opposite of what our grassroots coalition hoped to do. The point was to convince, not coerce. And now it sounds as if you believe we twisted your arm.

Rather than intimidating you, we hoped to inspire you with the possibility of creating a city that does not punish those who don’t have homes. We hoped to appeal to not just your sentiment to do the right thing and end criminalization of the homeless in Boulder, but to your sound judgment as well, based overwhelming evidence that anti-homeless laws are bad policy.

It seems more likely to me that you were influenced by other stakeholders who expressed fear about the possibility of seeing a tent city spring up in a town known for its beauty and affluence. People are scared. I know. I’ve heard parents who have never interacted with a homeless person argue against allowing space for them to camp without harassment because they’re afraid it might lead to a city where children aren’t safe to play. But we both know that letting fear dictate policy is not the answer.

Widespread economic volatility creates difficult situations for a small community with disparate needs. Families need to feel comfortable. But to punish the city’s dispossessed with cruel and unconstitutional laws is cutting corners in the effort to make our community a better place for everyone. Alienating a marginalized group through discriminatory laws hurts more people than it intends to help. What’s more, and this is what saddens me the most, it creates unnecessary class conflict in a town once known for its progressiveness.

As the fight over Boulder’s mistreatment of the homeless continues, people all over the world have come to know about it. The shame of this fact is an eyesore uglier than any encampment. The ACLU agrees. In addition to bad publicity, hundreds of people have protested the city’s willingness to punish the homeless for not having a home. Concerned citizens from Boulder to Lisbon have written you with two requests:

1) Suspend what’s become known as the camping ticket ordinance.

2) Hold a transparent meeting with leaders from grassroots organizations like H.O.M.E., the Homeless Ordinance Moratorium Endeavor, who have already submitted to you alternatives to the current law.

Of course homelessness is much larger than this small ordinance. Anyone could get lost in the issue. It’s maddening to tackle. But this is something we can do to address the suffering of our city’s most vulnerable. Please join me in fighting for our city and its integrity.


Noah Jennings

Photo credit: Marty Caivano/The Daily Camera


Related Action
Tell the City of Boulder to Stop Punishing the Homeless

Sign our petition to keep the pressure on Boulder’s leadership.

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“Ordinary people doing extraordinary things…”

Recently, a group of PEOPLE PROJECT folks joined people from all over the West Coast (and some beyond) in San Fran for a gathering, march and rally organized by WRAP [Western Regional Advocacy Project]. Building, connecting, chanting, demanding, learning, surviving…


Link to this inspiring video from the January 20th rally and march!




Check out Street Roots from Portland. About 50 people from Portland traveled to SF and participated! It was great to connect with them.

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Download and/or read WRAP’s “Without Housing” report Without_Housing_20061114

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Here is a video from the Jan 19th gathering at the Sub-mission space in San Francisco. POWERFUL words and music, the night before the rally and protest for housing, for the de-criminalization of homelessness and poverty, for human rights, for the people to build movement together.
There’s a great poem in here…

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Saturday, January 16 2010 @ 12:54 PM CST
Contributed by: Anonymous

Urgent call to action! Police raze Huntington Station Tent City destroying the property, food and shelter of over a hundred homeless. Many face possibility of freezing to death! Long Island Food Not Bombs needs your help to prevent that from happening! Please spread word, forward article, re-link, re-tweet, etc…

Many people may know that Long Island Food Not Bombs shares free groceries and other necessities every Tuesday in Huntington at 6:30pm. What people may not realize is that our Huntington Food Share is only a mile away from a tent city that is home to over a hundred Central American and Mexican men with access to no other form of shelter.

The Huntington Station Tent City is home to many who would otherwise freeze to death on the street. The Township of Huntington is made up of 200,000+ people and has no shelter system. In addition, besides Long Island Food Not Bombs and our friends at St. Hugh’s Project Hope, there are no real services that offer free groceries, clothing, etc…

For years the Huntington Station Tent City has provided enough shelter to prevent a countless number of people from freezing to death. Sitting on 27 acres of land there are nearly 30 encampments, they are entrenched between openings in the woods. Even though the media has been saying there is only a dozen or so men who stay there, the truth is the real number is over a hundred. The tent city is also sophisticated with half a dozen latrines, some of which include showers. Someone has even dug a pump well to bring in fresh water.

While the encampments vary in size, they share numerous characteristics; most include massive tarps 30-40 feet long. There are mattresses that line the floors and walls for insulation, there are dozens of sheets and winter wear. People have pictures of their families and icons of Christ for worship. It is a home for the unwanted and unseen and while it’s the manifestation of poverty it’s also the embodiment of a community that wants to survive, a community that doesn’t want to freeze to death!

José's family members remain back in El Salvador. He sends money when he can.

Lunch in the city before the destruction

These images document what the tent city looked like before and after it’s destruction.

Pablo Cervantes of Mexico was among the immigrant day laborers displaced

Without a doubt, the tent city provides much more shelter than just sleeping on the street. And so that’s one of the saddest parts of the actions of the Township of Huntington, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Starlight Building Corporation and the Family Service League. On Monday morning (Jan.11th), all of these entities collaborated in the extremely violent destruction of the shelters in the tent city. I say extremely violent because of the wanton devastation that was done to these men. Their homes were destroyed, tents and mattresses (used for insulation) were cut apart, materials for cooking like stoves were smashed, clothing was thrown about and ripped apart, containers of food were smashed up and personal belongings like family photos were destroyed or lost. The homes of over a hundred people were destroyed and no alternative was provided. Instead of an insulated shelter the men now have to suffer sleeping on the cold street, facing an even greater threat of hypothermia.

On Wednesday, another LIFNB volunteer and I visited the now destroyed tent city and found many who were trying to salvage their belongings; some were even trying to rebuild. Personally, the vindictive destruction and the hatred behind it was one of the most despicable things I’ve ever seen. The residents of the Huntington Tent City have lost everything and they need our help.

Like I said before, many of these men are trying to rebuild and pick up the pieces. Unless we demand that the town leaves these men be (men who aren’t bothering anyone) they’ll be destined to endure the same violence again.

Long Island Food Not Bombs is not asking, we’re demanding that this does not happen again and we need your help. We’re asking that you demand the Town of Huntington and the Suffolk Police to postpone any further eviction plans until an adequate 24-7, year round, shelter system is created within the town. Trying to survive is not a crime! And the wanton raciest violence that’s been done to these people is not acceptable and can not be continued. Please check out below for information on who to contact.

How you can help!

At the moment we are currently trying to collect winter jackets, winterized sleeping bags, hats, blankets, gloves, socks, *new underwear, cooking wares (camping stoves, pans etc…), hygienic wares (tooth brushes, toothpaste, soaps, etc…), canned goods, peanut butter, tarps, waterproofing materials, etc… We encourage everyone to collect these items and either drop them off at any one of our food share locations, at our drop box in Urban Coffee (101 Broadway Greenlawn, NY 11740) , or call our hotline 631.223.4370 to schedule a home pick up at your convenience.

Raise your voice, stand in solidarity!

****On Sunday night we’ll be posting up a call to action on our site with more information, please check us for updates.

In the mean time we ask that you voice your thoughts about what has happened with the Town of Huntington and the Suffolk Police Department. Below is a list of emails and a template letter you can use, just fill your name in at the bottom.

fpetrone@town.huntington.ny.us, mcuthbertson@town.huntington.ny.us, sberland@town.huntington.ny.us, gjackson@town.huntington.ny.us, mmayoka@town.huntington.ny.us, jraia@town.huntington.ny.us, SCPD.2NDPRECINCT@suffolkcountyny.gov, SCPDINFO@suffolkcountyny.gov

Template letter:

Stop the Huntington Station Tent City evictions!

As a concerned voter I was extremely disturbed to hear about the eviction of Huntington Station Tent City and the violent and wanton destruction suffered by it’s residents. As a compassionate and rational person I believe that everyone has a right to survival and that acting on such a right should not be against the law.

With that in mind, I ask that the Township of Huntington and the Suffolk County Police department delay any further actions against the residents of the Huntington Station Tent City until an adequate 24/7 year round shelter system is created within the town. The seasonal housing provide by HIHI, while well meaning, is not a solution and completely inadequate to handle the hundreds of homeless within our township. If this simple humanitarian action can not be met then I insist that any further actions against tent city residents be postponed to prevent these men from freezing to death – any shelter is better than none!

It is my hope that both the Township of Huntington and the Suffolk County Police Department can act as responsible, caring and intelligent arbiters in this situation, supporting both a temporary and permanent solution. I also suggest that community organizations, such as Long Island Food Not Bombs, be consulted in this process. Food Not Bombs has experience with these issues in Huntington Station and embodies the voices of many whom will feel the affects of your actions. I thank you for your time and hope for your immediate action to rectify this situation.


*Some photographs in this article are from the NY times and were taken by Anna Bosch/Ruidophoto. These images document what the tent city looked like before and after it’s destruction.

For the Full Story/Updates check out our website:


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Tent City Lawsuit?

By Cheryl Reza
Posted: Jan 12, 2010, Updated: Jan 13, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS – The battle over what to do about “tent city” is heating up. City officials say they may have to re-consider a “no camping” ordinance. Lawsuits are popping up across the United States related to ordinances that prevent homeless people from sleeping on sidewalks or in city parks.

Legal Director for the Denver chapter of the ACLU, Mark Silverstein says, “the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that there was a potential legal claim that such an ordinance enforced in that situation could violate the 8th amendment.” The case challenged a Los Angeles ordinance prohibiting people sleeping outside on the sidewalks. The 8th amendment prohibits “cruel and usual punishment.” Silverstein adds, “the idea is they can’t help doing it because they got nowhere to go and you have got to sleep and you have no home and there are no shelters you sleep outside.” 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the highest court to have consider this type of decision.

The ruling of the court says when the city doesn’t provide adequate shelters they can’t constitutionally enforce a law making it a crime to sleep in public places, Silverstein says, “the rationale is that it’s punishing people for something they can’t help but do you have to sleep sometime.”

The case was decided in 2006. Other law suits are pending across the country, where civil rights attorneys are suing city government for imposing “no camping” type of ordinances in city limits.

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