Homeless News Round-Up

Homeless People Demand Bathrooms — Berkeley, CA
A community meeting called by Council member Ben Bartlett was attended by nearly 100 members of the immediate area including the Lorin Business Association, Friends of Adeline and Le Conte Neighborhood Association. In visible attendance were about 15 members of First They Came For The Homeless (FTCFTH) including Co-Founder Mike Zint and former Berkeley Mayoral Candidate Mike Lee. This meeting was motivated by a few concerns articulated on Nextdoor.com about the intentional community created in South Berkeley by FTCFTH as part of a mobile protest tour, “the poor tour,” it soon became evident the room overwhelmingly supported the protesters. With rock solid discipline, FTCFTH focused the conversation on the demand that permission be awarded so that they may be able to install sanitary facilities at their location on 63rd and Adeline streets. Community members spoke glowingly of the tent city and one person noted it was a welcome addition to the community. Only three persons raised any concerns to the contrary.

East Bay Resident Open Your Doors ­­— Richmond, CA
Safe Time, a little known East Bay nonprofit, places people in immediate need of housing with private individuals willing to host them for a short period of time. So far they have made four placements. Safe Time president Chuck Grant was inspired to create this innovative effort after learning about a similar European program and reading the stories from Season of Sharing, the San Francisco Chronicle’s charity fund for homeless residents. https://safetimehost.org/

Homeless Protest HUD Cuts — Albuquerque, NM
In response to the proposed $6 billion in budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a protest was initiated by the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. Executive Director Hank Hughes, calling the cuts “mean spirited,” noted that these cuts would mean 1,400 families would lose their Section 8 vouchers, with half of them being in Albuquerque. Representatives from the city declared that it would impact local housing initiatives for low- and moderate-income families, as well as the homeless.

Uppity Homeless People Invade SF — Bay Area
First They Came For The Homeless (FTCFTH), a self-advocacy network of primarily homeless people, is on the move again. According to several Facebook posts, in response to the recent raids at Ninth and Brannan streets, FTCFTH has formed a homeless defense union called Sidewalk Rangers. Its purpose is to encourage self-organization among San Francisco’s unhoused population with the ultimate goal of creating an intentional community similar to the one in Berkeley, CA. In the short term, FTCFTH will establish a presence on the ground to conduct skills, media and resource development training. FTCFTH is noted for its very confrontational and creative nonviolent protests, including making the steps of City Hall bleed. Co-Founder Mike Zint and public associate Mike Lee are two of the most notable icons well known by police, politicians and homeless advocates on both sides of the bay. For the past few years, FTCFTH has come into the public view by its very public protests including a 17-month defense of Berkeley’s main post office. Currently, their nine-month long mobile protest has cost the City of Berkeley, CA, $450,000, attributed mainly to police overtime.

Vigilantes Continue Attacks — Eureka, CA
It is reported that violent vigilantes are continuing their attacks against the homeless in Eureka, CA. According to a Facebook post from Robin Donald, “two elders who are houseless had handfuls of small rocks thrown at them by the occupants of a white creamy vanilla ’89 Nissan car with a dent on the side near the cap to the gas tank, and a red and blue sticker on the rear bumper. When one of the elders shouted back at the folks in the car, these hatemongers came back to continue their attack. Luckily and with great pluck and forethought, the seniors were able to travel down back alleys and got away unhurt.”

San Jose Bans Food — San Jose, CA
Keith McHenry reports that “The city of San Jose announced it would be illegal to share food in St. James Park in August. Food Not Bombs has been sharing there for more than 15 years. Sharing food with the hungry is an unregulated gift of compassion and love.”

Food Not Bombs has called for a protest at St. James Park on Sunday, August 6 at 2 p.m. to share vegan meals with the hungry or for people organize a solidarity meal in their own community. They also request people write to Mayor Sam Liccardo at mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov and council member Raul Peralez at district3@sanjoseca.gov and tell them they should support the right to share meals with the hungry at St. James Park. ≠

Mike Lee is an organizer for First They Came For The Homeless.