To some this is a lived experience, and to others just a tall tale. Many homeless people I have interacted with on the streets of West Coast cities—either unhoused and unsheltered—have had really painful experiences with the police, or experienced brutality from other people in the neighborhood. Some are not in shelters because they have a reason not to be, like being undocumented. For those living in fear of deportation, avoiding interaction feels like the way to stay unknown and unnoticed,
Invest in housing and mental health services, not criminalization
The CARE Court Governor Newsom is backing is dangerous! Senate Bill 1338 would establish “C.A.R.E. Courts’’ in California. C.A.R.E Court has a $65 million starting cost and claims to combat houselessness and support people with mental health disabilities, but provides no funding for permanent supportive housing or mental health services.
CARE Court can require participants to take medication against their will. If they refuse medication for any reason,
San Francisco just released its first point in time (PIT) count of homeless and unsheltered people in the City since before the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of city workers and volunteers scoured the city on February 23, 2022, tallying those most vulnerable members of our community who live without adequate shelter in this prosperous City by the Bay. The findings of the PIT count make for sobering reading.
We are all aware that in 2020 there was an immediate and concerted effort to get unhoused people inside—or at least into ‘safe sleeping’ programs that connected them with services and provided them with a stable place to pitch their tents.
In the United States, we know that law enforcement agencies that were put in place to “protect and serve” have done nothing of the sort. After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, community activists, organizers and allies came together across the country to protest and to hold law enforcement agencies accountable to the violence that they cause marginalized communites. Two years after one of the biggest movements began to halt police violence, few true solutions,
The world is changing. Many American cities are experiencing a crackdown on homelessness. Individuals and families without a safe place to call home are being displaced with no place to go. People are losing their belongings. In Tennessee, it’s become extreme. On 1 July, a new law will pass making homelessness a felony “for a person to engage in camping on the shoulder, berm, or right of way of a state or interstate highway,
Imagine not knowing that you’ve been freed from slavery because nobody told you. That’s how the Juneteenth holiday got started.
Juneteenth is celebrated in the African American community on June 19 every year. It began as a commemoration of the emancipation of slaves in Texas. It was first recognized in Galveston, Texas, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Even after Texan slaveholders knew of the proclamation,
City College of San Francisco has already laid off 38 faculty members with more staff cutbacks to come while reducing classes and student resources. Instructors and staff have already taken a pay-cut to encourage class maintenance, while the boards have increased their personal pay. Students and staff are demanding transparent and open statements from the board: why are classes and teachers being cut during a California budget surplus?
City College is facing another round of class and service cuts under the stance of budget reform.
Don’t Wait Until We Break!
On Wednesday May 4, homeless and formerly homeless moms, children, and individuals converged on San Francisco’s City Hall to deliver one message, loud and clear: “Our mothers need housing.” The action was designed and carried out by unhoused members, mostly moms. In planning the action, they talked about how being homeless is literally breaking their mental health and came up with the slogan “Don’t Wait Until We Break”
Age-old sayings tell us to save “mothers and children first” in any crisis or catastrophe.
As a person who has lived and worked in the Tenderloin and Central South of Market communities for well over a decade, I have a message for my community about the recent actions of the San Francisco Redistricting Taskforce.
First, to my beloved Tenderloin & Central SoMa family and friends. I’m sorry. I’m sorry because I know you trusted me to be a voice for you in this process. You asked me to fight to secure justice for you and to protect you from harm brought against you by a political and financial elite of this city.
In early March, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court program, which would create yet another separate court for poor and unhoused people with mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Governor Newsom has explicitly discussed CARE Court as a tool to address street homelessness, and the proposal is consistent with a string of bills nationwide that seek to increase the power of the state to institutionalize unhoused people under the pretense of “compassion.” The devil is in the details,