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Posts Tagged ‘affordable housing’

WORK FOR A HOMELESS BILL OF RIGHTS!

“WRAP was created [by the members below] to expose and eliminate the root causes of civil and human rights abuses of people experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness in our communities”

 
 WRAP Members
Right to Survive                    * Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee    
St. Mary’s Center                 * Street Roots                               * Street Spirit

 

October 24th, 2013
Please don’t forget to add wrap@wraphome.org to your Safe Sender/Primary Email list so that we end up in the right inbox! 

 

WRAP recently launched the Homeless Bill of Rights (HBR) Campaign which seeks to provide a framework for communities to fight back against discriminatory local laws. We believe that people living on the streets deserve support and access to affordable housing, not criminalization for their mere presence on public land. We launched a social-justice-based campaign that will create bills which protect the following rights and prohibit the enforcement of any local laws that violate these rights: 

 

1.     Right to move freely, rest, sleep, & pray and be protected in public spaces without discrimination,

2.     Right to occupy a legally parked vehicle,

3.     Right to share food and eat in public,

4.     Right to legal counsel if being prosecuted,

5.     Right to 24-hour access to “hygiene facilities.”

  

The core of our HBR campaign is based on our outreach to homeless and poor people, in which we document their experiences with local police and private security. We have recently surveyed 1,276 people in five states and twelve cities. The civil rights violation people are experiencing everywhere are eerily similar. The main “illegal offenses” that homeless people are being harassed & criminalized for include: sleeping 81%, sitting or lying down 78%, and loitering or hanging out 66%. 

 

We are seeing unprecedented campaigns by local municipalities to enact anti-poor people laws. (Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Fresno, Albany, Hayward, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Venice, San Diego, and the list goes on) “Quality of life” ordinances are criminalizing homelessness and preventing people from attaining basic needs such as resting and sleeping. Additionally, with limited resources and funding cuts, poor people have very little support and are faced with numerous barriers which make escaping homelessness impossible. 

 

The time has come for a renewed national movement to protect the human and civil rights of poor and homeless people. WRAP is engaged in community organizing, research, public education, advocacy, and direct action efforts to build the power to defeat misguided housing legislation and overturn discriminatory “quality of life” laws. 

 

Learn more about our Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign.

                

Do you represent an organization working for social justice and equality? If yes, please endorse our Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign in California and Oregon!
 
Click here to download the form.

Launching Los Angeles  the Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign to End Criminalization
Launching Los Angeles the Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign to End Criminalization

Albany has an obligation to do a better job for the homeless
 
October 22, 2013
By: Paul Boden 
Over the past decades, as federal funding for affordable housing nose-dived, the solutions to homelessness have been left to local governments. Though the effort has been far from perfect, almost all Bay Area cities have contributed resources to housing our region’s poorest residents. Many have spent significant city funds. But not Albany.
 

The city of Albany has no homeless shelter. It has next to nothing on providing affordable housing, for years. It has been out of compliance with state law regarding zoning for affordable housing since at least 1999.

 

Oppose the San Francisco Park Closure Proposal!
 
 
 
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced legislation to close all of SF’s public parks from 12 midnight until 5 am. This proposal will be voted on by the Board of Supervisor’s on Tuesday October 29th @ 1 pm.
 
The proposed law would:
  • Fine and jail people who are living/resting in public parks because they have nowhere else to go;- waste precious city funds on signs, fences, and costs of enforcement
  • Further eliminate already diminishing access to public space for ALL.

Take Action! 

We Need Your Support!
 
Please make a donation to WRAP and help sustain our efforts to make ending homelessness a national priority!
 

Homeless Bill of Rights New Narratives
 
September 8, 2013
 
Editor’s Note: Continuing our coverage of rights-based movements and narratives. Simon Davis-Cohen speaks with Paul Boden about Homeless Bills of Rights.

 

Paul Boden is Western Regional Advocacy Project ‘s Organizing Director. He became homeless at the age of 16 after the death of his mother. Paul served as Executive Director of San Francisco’s Coalition on Homelessness for 16 years and was a founder of the Community Housing Partnership, a nationally recognized permanent housing corporation with optional supportive services. He has received dozens of community awards during the last twenty-five years and recognition from the city and county of San Francisco, the State of California, and the Congress of the United States. Paul regularly writes articles and op-eds and travels throughout the country giving talks and trainings.

 

Connect with our members’ campaign in Oregon! Join their lists and endorse their Bill. 
 
 
Oregon Campaign Goals:
  • Pass a Homeless Bill of Rights in the state of Oregon (introduce the Homeless Bill of Rights into the Oregon State Legislature in 2014).
  • Investigate the priorities of the unhoused community
  • Change public perceptions of the unhoused
  • Educate the housed and unhoused about systemic causes of homelessness
  • Connect homelessness to public health
  • Build action teams to achieve incremental victories
  • Mitigate the negative impacts of criminalization ordinances (anti-camping/sit-lie)
  • Build local & statewide allies
 

On South Carolina’s Troubling Criminalization of Homelessness
 
U.S. Catholic Blog
 
In our August cover story, author Paula Lomazzi argued that we shouldn’t enact laws and policies that effectively make it a crime to be homeless. Lomazzi, formerly homeless herself and now the director of the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, made a compelling argument in favor or community, compassion, and practical solutions to ending homelessness. Our readers agreed, with 67 percent indicating that they would vote against legislation that prohibited sleeping outside in their city.
 

Food Truck That Feeds Homeless Could Be Forced To Move From Streets Of Hollywood 

 

October 16, 2013 
 
The Los Angeles City Council is considering new regulations that could potentially shut down a food truck that has been feeding the hungry on the streets of Hollywood for more than 25 years. The Public Works Committee heard a motion introduced by Councilman Tom LaBonge Wednesday, which urges city departments to consider banning non-commercial food distribution in public rights of way, an initiative that would force the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to move.
Western Regional Advocacy Project 
(WRAP)
 
 
415.621.2533
wrap@wraphome.org
 
We are sustained through individual donations and generous foundations. We need your support to continue our work and help us stand up for poor and homeless peoples’ civil rights!

 
 
 
WRAP is a 501(c)3 organization. 
 
 
  
 
Donations are tax-deductible.
 
 

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-quigley/eight-homeless-youth-die_b_802109.html

By Bill Quigley

Eight young people, who the Fire Department said were “trying to stay warm,” perished in a raging fire during the night in New Orleans. The young people were squatting in an abandoned wood framed tin walled warehouse in a Ninth Ward neighborhood bordering a large train yard. The young people apparently had a barrel with wood burning in it for heat. Officials said this was the city’s most deadly fire in twenty five years.

The eight young people, estimated to be in their late teens and early twenties, remain unidentified. “We don’t know their IDs,” said the Fire Department, “they were so burned we cannot even tell their genders.”

Audrey, a young woman with brown dreads and a Polish last name, arrived at the scorched scene. She spent the night in the warehouse a couple of times. Because last night was so cold she and a few others begged money from people in the French Quarter and got enough to spend the night in a hotel. Do you know who was in there? “Usually 10 to 15 people, nobody uses last names, but Katy, Jeff, Sammy, Nicky, John and Mooncat usually stay there,” she sobbed. Why did people stay here? “A lot of freight hoppers stay here,” she said, pointing to the nearby trains. “We are just passing through, hopping trains. We don’t have any money.” Behind her a group of young people were crying and hugging as they picked up pieces of a navy blue sweatshirt from the burnt remains.

There are an estimated 1.6 to 2.8 million homeless youth in the US, people between the ages of 12 and 24, according to a June 2010 report of the Center for American Progress. Most are homeless because of abuse, neglect, and family conflict. Gay and transgender youth are strikingly over-represented.

The fire happened in an area of abandoned warehouses at the end of Prieur Street, two blocks towards the train tracks down from the new Family Dollar on Claiborne. It is a modest neighborhood. Some people are back, some aren’t. One block from the warehouses is a long lime green shotgun house with a beautiful red rose bush in front. Next door stands a big grey double shotgun with a wide open door and tattered curtains hanging out broken windows. Untouched since Katrina, the grey house sports OWNER HAS DOG spray painted on the front and the date, 10.8.5. “After Katrina, people don’t have the money to fix their houses up,” said the firefighter.

Across the street from the blackened warehouse is a vacant lot with a tiny handmade wooden shelter at its end. No electricity, no water. Inside are a mattress and some clothes. Follow the path through the weeds and there is another long vacant building that looks like it was once a school. Clearly people stay here as well. Empty cans of baked beans, chili, and Vienna sausages are piled next to Four Loko cans, jars of peanut butter, and empty juice boxes. “Where’s our skate park?” is painted onto the wall in blazing red. A Thanksgiving card with a teddy bear on the outside lies on the pavement. Nana wishes the best to granddaughter Heather and son Dave.

New Orleans has 3,000 to 6,000 homeless people living in abandoned buildings according to an August 2010 report by Unity of Greater New Orleans. The report, “Search and Rescue Five Years Later: Saving People Still Trapped in Katrina’s Ruins,” notes homelessness has doubled since Katrina. Seventy-five percent of the people in those buildings are survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Outreach workers report many are disabled but many also work. Inside abandoned buildings live full-time sitters and restaurant workers.

Since Katrina, New Orleans has a severe homeless problem because of the scarcity of affordable housing. HUD and local governments demolished over 4000 affordable public housing apartments after Katrina. “The current housing crisis in New Orleans reflects the disastrous impact of the demolition policy,” according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing in a February 2010 report very critical of the United States. Rents rose. Tens of thousands of homes remain vacant. Over 30,000 families are on the waiting list for affordable housing.

A November 2010 report from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center pegs the number of vacant and blighted properties at over 40,000 in New Orleans with more in the suburbs – 14,000 of which are owned by the government.

Unity for the Homeless has been asking for help for people living in abandoned buildings for years. They have four outreach workers who nightly check on people living in abandoned buildings. Five recommendations from Unity to help these thousands of people: convert abandoned building into housing for the homeless; fund case managers to help people with disabilities move into housing; additional outreach and housing search workers; create a small shelter with intensive services for people with mental health problems who are resistant to shelters; and serious investment in affordable rental housing. There are several hundred housing vouchers available for disabled homeless people but no money to fund the caseworkers they need.

Nationally, the US has severely cut its investment in affordable housing despite increasing need from the foreclosure and economic crises. Homelessness is of course up all over. The U.S. Conference of Mayors reported in December 2010 that demands for food and housing are up across the country. The causes? Unemployment, high housing costs and low wages.

Will we look into our abandoned buildings and look into the eyes of our abandoned daughters and sons and sisters and brothers? Will our nation address unemployment, high housing costs, and low wages? Will we address the abuse, neglect, and family conflict that create homelessness for millions of youth, especially gay and transgender youth? Or will the fires continue and the lives end?

Bill Quigley is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. You can reach Bill at quigley77@gmail.com.

 

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WRAP [Western Regional Advocacy Project ] is proud to announce the release of our 2010 Without Housing Report Update.

Download It Here

It comes at a critical juncture for housing policy in this country as millions of Americans are homeless and tens of millions more are on the brink of economic collapse.

The updated report focuses public attention back on the #1 reason for the housing mess: the Federal Government’s divestment in affordable housing programs and deregulation of the housing market.

Most importantly, it helps people understand the complex issues fueling the crisis and provides a framework for turning the situation around.

In the next few weeks WRAP will be launching a housing rights campaign that builds off the update and these demands.

If you or your organization is interested in joining or learning more about the campaign, call Paul or Michael at 415-621-2533.

And please, support our work by donating now!

To order hard copies of the update, send a check payable to:

Western Regional Advocacy Project
2940 16th St., Suite 200-2
San Francisco, CA 94103

1 Report = $10
10+ = $8/each
50+ = $5/each

P.S. A Spanish version is on the way soon!

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HUFF [Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom] is soliciting blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, tarps, and food donations for our nightly event. Please come by, sign our petition, and lie down with us against the Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010 section a). If you would like to add your name to our list of endorsers, please e-mail me back at the above e-mail address. — Becky Johnson of HUFF

Homeless, their advocates sleep at county courthouse to protest Santa Cruz’s camping ban

By Kimberly White
Posted: 07/06/2010 01:30:54 AM PDT

found online at: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ ci_15446448

SANTA CRUZ — A handful of homeless men and homeless rights advocates gathered in front of the Santa Cruz County courthouse Monday night, spreading out blankets and unfurling their sleeping bags in a willful violation of a city ordinance that prohibits camping within city limits.

Leigh, who declined to provide his last name, was preparing to sleep out on the courthouse steps for the second night. He said he has lived in Santa Cruz for 35 years and has been “houseless” for the last four or five years.

“I understand at some legal level why the ban was implemented, ” he said. “I also understand that it was implemented due to the city’s intentional oversight in the creation of housing and jobs for people that actually live here. They’re in violation of the state charter that requires them to build housing for people that actually work here, or at least plan for it.”

He called the ban a “draconian measure” aimed at making it “harder for people that they do displace to stay here” and then criminalizing the resulting behavior.

“The problem is, for a lot of people here, there’s no place to go,” he said.

Organizers of the “Peace Camp” say they will continue camping on the courthouse steps every night from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. until the city either scraps what they call a “sleeping ban” or creates a safe shelter with additional capacity.

Santa Cruz Vice Mayor Ryan Coonerty said the city attorney automatically dismisses any citations handed out for illegal camping, provided there is proof that all available beds at the various shelters around the city are full.

“He’ll dismiss it,” agreed Ed Frey, a local attorney who helped organize the protest, “but he won’t stop the police from waking people up, writing them a ticket, making them go to court twice, and go over to the homeless services shelter and get an affidavit to the effect that there were no beds available that night. And then the law, in its majesty, will grant you a not guilty verdict.”
According to the 2009 Santa Cruz Homeless Census and Survey, about 2,260 people in the county are homeless.

Coonerty estimated that through a combination of city programs and a partnership with area churches, roughly 400 beds are available each night — and the latest report that came out last month showed that the shelters averaged about 84 percent capacity total.

“I’m not even sure that any area churches are participating anymore in that program,” said Becky Johnson, a member of advocacy group HUFF, or Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom, which is backing the protest. HUFF estimates that shelter space is available for only 8 percent of that population, or about 180.

She said the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Project is now redirecting their staffing and funding into the Paul Lee Loft, a new facility at the Homeless Services shelter.

Frey said about 10 of the about 30 people who arrived at the courthouse lawn Sunday night slept there overnight. Deputies eventually came by “and checked us out,” he said, but ultimately left without issuing any citations.

Paul Tashiro, patrol supervisor for the Sheriff’s Office, saw several people camped out on the platform in front of the courthouse Sunday night, but said no citations were issued because the protesters were peaceful and not creating any disturbances.

In fact, Tashiro said Monday afternoon — before that evening’s vigil began — that he didn’t even know what they were protesting.
“I don’t know how much attention they brought to the homelessness issue in the middle of the night on a holiday weekend,” he said when he learned that they are protesting the sleeping ban. He noted that if they are gone by 8 a.m. today, “they won’t disrupt any services because the county doesn’t even open until after 8 a.m.”

Asked what the advocates hope to accomplish, Frey said they want to “put pressure on the city government and courts to do the right thing” and stop depriving the homeless of sleep. Instead of forcing the homeless to jump through so many hoops to get the fines dismissed, police should simply call the shelter themselves to confirm that it is full, he said.

“The solution is to follow the law … which gives the homeless a right to privacy, a right to be left alone, a right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, a right to due process of the law, and a right to be free from torture,” Frey said.

“If they think it’s unconstitutional, they should challenge it,” Coonerty said. “If they want to change the policy, they should have people run for City Council. … I don’t think camping out is the most effective way” to create the change they want.

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All are invited to Anti-War Protests to

END THE WAR ON THE POOR

every Tuesday, in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka

3-6pm

Dinner shared on site

For more information contact PEOPLE PROJECT:

(707) 442-7465
peopleproject@riseup.net

Gather every Tuesday to build strength with neighbors and other community
members to END the WAR ON THE POOR!

—–
The war on the poor takes many forms. PEOPLE PROJECT understands that all wars are wars against the poor, the Earth, and the defenseless. The war on the poor includes lack of affordable housing, lack of access to healthcare, abuse of millions of animals in factory farms, slaughterhouses and labs, and heavy military recruitment of youth for global wars on the poor. The war on the poor includes state violence against refugees and houseless people, corporate exploitation of working people, lack of decent jobs, and the injustice of the prison industrial complex.

A main focus for PEOPLE PROJECT is to stop the criminalization of houseless people. Please join us to speak out and build strength to END THE ‘WAR ON THE POOR’, however you experience it.

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