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I have been thinking a lot recently about restorative justice practices and violence – physical, psychological and emotional violence and the harm to persons, immediate and long term, as well as the harm to their associate families and communities. Not much attention is paid to the survivors of violence unless the violence is by the state, yet every day people are making choices which harm innocent people. Why is the activist community silent when it comes to advocacy for these silenced survivors?
In California and across the country, progressives are coming together to demand change. We need affordable housing for our communities. On Nov. 6, voters in California will be able to vote on Proposition 10, an amendment that will let local governments determine if housing in their area should be rent controlled based on the needs of those in their communities. Prop 10 is a key example of how we can make California and the rest of the United States affordable for all families. Vote Yes on 10!
On Sept. 4, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that cities may not punish homeless people for sleeping outside in public spaces if they do not have access to shelter elsewhere. The case – Martin v. City of Boise – started way back in 2009, when six current and formerly homeless residents of Boise, Idaho, sued the city for giving citations to people who were sleeping outside. The lawsuit rested on the notion that these citations violated the Eighth Amendment rights of Boise’s homeless residents, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.
Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels, traditionally available to those on fixed or very low incomes, are being marketed to new arrivals and tech industry workers, exacerbating the housing crisis and exploding the homeless population in Oakland. Hundreds of rooms have been lost in the last year at the Sutter, Travelers and other SRO hotels. The extractive model of financial speculation has reached into every form of housing in the SF Bay Area, and homelessness has risen exponentially.
Great news when Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost their Parliamentary majority in the U.K.’s June 8 snap election and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party surged, adding 30 seats to their total. Pollsters, who predicted a Conservative Party victory, were way off, but for what it’s worth, they’ve since reported that Corbyn’s popularity continues to rise.
The Trump regime’s proposed $6.2 billion in budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) threatens the renters in around 155 low-income affordable housing projects in Oakland with higher rents or eviction from their homes. The proposed $6.2 billion in budget cuts to HUD will disproportionately impact Black women and their families because such a high percentage of them rely on HUD’s subsidized housing programs.
Renter protections will be on the November ballot in six cities in the Bay Area. No matter how hard the landlords and the California Apartment Association try to stop the renters movement, tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections in Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo and Mountain View. They urge people to vote “no” against any weak proposals placed on the ballot by the city councils in Alameda and Mountain View.
After weeks of negotiations between the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and San Francisco officials, HUD announced Sept. 21 that it will authorize neighborhood preference policies for federally-funded affordable housing in the City – upholding landmark legislation by Board of Supervisors President London Breed. President Breed joined Supervisor Cohen and housing advocates to celebrate the monumental victory in San Francisco’s fight against neighborhood displacement.
It’s hard to imagine that the country that controls so much nuclear firepower and drops so many bombs every day is unwilling to educate its children and house its own people. As much as I would like to see zero poverty in the United States, I know that the political will for such policies is just not there today. This, despite the efforts of thousands of people just like me all over the country to alleviate the unnecessary suffering of the poor in the U.S.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the Committee on Financial Services, introduced landmark legislation that would provide significant resources to end homelessness in America. The measure is a bold effort to declare what is really needed to address this crisis. The legislation provides $13.27 billion in new funding over five years to several programs and initiatives that will help the nearly 600,000 Americans who are currently homeless.
Funktown, which is near Lake Merritt, is rapidly being gentrified. You can still find “Funktown” scribbled on sidewalks here and there when the concrete was fresh. But economic cleansing has taken its toll on the hood. It’s just not the same any more. As the renters of Oakland are being terrorized by skyrocketing rents and greedy landlords evicting them by the thousands, city officials have mostly turned a blind eye to the economic cleansing taking place on their watch.
The No New SF Jail Coalition’s position has been clear since day one – what San Francisco needs to keep its residents safe is housing, healthcare, mental health support, harm reductive substance use support, education, meaningful employment, community organizations, re-entry support and pre-trial diversion. NOT jails. We need you to call the Board of Supervisors, tell your friends and come out strong on Dec. 15. UPDATE: The vote to reject the new jail was UNANIMOUS! There will be NO NEW SF JAIL.
In 1999, San Francisco cops pounded on Liz Washington’s door and burst in with their hands on their guns. “It was like they were going to be in a shoot-out,” said Liz. Flourishing an unreadable paper that she could not identify as a warrant, they snatched her three children, literally grabbing her nursing infant from her arms. This brutal act began the chain of events that ended with the family’s long imprisonment on Treasure Island.
With rents rising to astronomical rates and greedy nonprofit housing developers screwing the poor with minimum income requirements, including rents higher than what poor people can afford to pay unless they are subsidized by the Section 8 program, many poor people end up homeless and are living on the streets. Squatting has become one of the few options left for the working poor and impoverished.
San Francisco’s housing woes are characterized by inflated rent and a shortage of residential units – a combination that has left many long-term residents feeling pushed out and priced out of their city. While many groups have been affected, it is now well established that the city’s African-American population has borne the brunt of what the city’s mayor aptly describes as a “housing crisis.”
The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is at the forefront of the resistance to the foreclosures and illegal taking of homes by the banks. ACCE, the Center for Popular Democracy and the Home Defenders League released a report March 12 entitled “California in Crisis: How Wells Fargo’s Foreclosure Pipeline is Damaging Local Communities.”
On Black Friday 2010, at 16th and Mission in San Francisco, Creative Housing Liberation held a “Housing Harvest” rally with songs and speeches followed by a tour of four vacant neighborhood properties. Creative Housing Liberation would like to invite “all kinds of folks, including families,” to be involved in future housing occupations and demonstrations.
The Right to Return Weekend challenges the forced removal of all public housing residents following Hurricane Katrina and the discriminatory policies of the government to permanently displace low-income Black communities from the “new” New Orleans.
Residents of affordable housing developments live in fear that renovation schemes will end up displacing them. To stop a new threat of displacement in Oakland, pack the CEDA meeting Tuesday, March 10, 2-4:30, Oakland City Hall Hearing Room 1, first floor.