Tags Coalition on Homelessness
Tag: Coalition on Homelessness
In pouring down rain, city officials started clearing “Box City” at 7 a.m. this morning. City workers threw belongings into dumpsters and crushed previously occupied boxes. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released best practice guidelines for municipalities recommending that individuals in encampments should have access to housing before they are removed from said areas and, if no such housing exists, to provide temporary shelter that leads to housing. San Francisco is violating those guidelines.
While two heavily armed police officers stood directly across the street watching us, a group of the most impacted, unhoused, criminalized, injured, disabled, Black, Brown, Trans and Indigenous peoples gathered to demand a 90-day moratorium on the killing of our Black, Brown, disabled and unhoused residents of this city and all cities struggling with the ongoing murder of our children, youth, elders and families.
A shooting by police officers of a homeless man camping on Shotwell Street near 18th Street occurred in the Mission Thursday, April 7. On Friday, the Medical Examiner identified the victim as 45-year-old Luis Gongora, a San Francisco resident. This shooting happened less than 24 hours after a late-night Police Commission meeting at which members of the Police Officers Association fought against changes to the Department General Order concerning use of force.
Building after building, block after block from the Bayview to Baltimore and from Sunnydale to East Oakland, the last vestige of so-called public – that is, government owned – housing in the richest country in the world lie dormant. Boarded up, locked, gated and shut – each apartment equipped with two, three and four bedrooms, one or two bathrooms and full kitchens.
Against all odds, a grassroots coalition defeated a plan to build a new, 384-bed downtown jail at a cost of $240 million – up to $465 million including 30 years of debt financing. In what the No New Jail Coalition called “an historic moment in our long and difficult fight against jail expansion,” the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Dec. 15 to reject the new jail plan.
The broken windows model of policing uses code words like “disorder” and the metaphor of “broken windows,” focusing on the importance of “fixing,” aka policing, getting rid of, cleaning out broken windows as a way of “preventing” more “serious crime.” The poor, disabled and houseless scholars from POOR Magazine who have experienced the violence of this private policing launched the WeSearch Policy Group in 2013.
At a time that the Department of Justice is calling the citing, arresting and forced displacement of homeless people for sleeping cruel and unusual punishment, new data from the SFPD indicates that it is fully engaged in this practice: Homeless people received 11,920 citations for resting in public space in 2014. A total of 13,390 citations were given to homeless people for anti-homeless “offenses.”
Californians United for a Responsible Budget filed an appeal challenging the environmental report put out by the SF Planning Department regarding the proposed construction of a jail at 855 Bryant St. as insufficient. A central concern for opponents of the jail is that the planners of the project did not seriously assess the high likelihood of displacing people in 14 Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) units living at 480-484 Sixth St.
A tragic impact of increased gentrification and the rapid development of neighborhoods like the Mission is the almost complete elimination of neighborhood-based recycling centers in the most populated neighborhoods in the city. In the past year, five recycling centers have been evicted and shut-down. Most recently Safeway has evicted Market Street’s San Francisco Community Recyclers Center at Church and Market.
On Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), coordinated its West Coast Days Of Action across three states and 11 cities. From 2005 to 2014, WRAP has worked to build a large people’s movement rooted in and accountable to groups and individuals defending poor peoples’ constitutionally-guaranteed human right to exist in public space, acquire housing and employment, and enjoy equal protection under law.
In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the weekend commemorating his work in the Civil Rights Movement, Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) member organizations are creating model legislation for California and Oregon Homeless Bills of Rights. Groups across California and Oregon will be holding events and rallies throughout MLK weekend.
San Franciscans working from 2004 to 2013 to keep tasers out of SFPD officers’ hands as they “talk down” people in public crisis are today celebrating SFPD Chief Greg Suhr’s Wednesday, April 10, decision to drop his “less lethal” taser proposal for San Francisco cops. Idriss Stelley Foundation Program Director Jeremy Miller affirmed: “The Police Commission should be commended for engaging this issue seriously in a manner that befits their political responsibility. Tasers torture and kill. They are unaccountable weapons for unaccountable officers. But it was the people of San Francisco who forced Suhr’s hand.”
Police Chief Greg Suhr and the SF Police Commission finally scheduled and held the required community forums, where Suhr and Comdrs. Richard Corriea and Mikail Ali described the Electronic Control Weapon (ECW) proposal and invited community input. This updated story includes a report on the Tenderloin community forum, organized by residents. All testimony was anti-taser.
A Dec. 4, 2012, ACLU letter to SF Mayor Ed Lee urged rejecting any SFPD proposal “to deploy tasers or other conductive energy devices”. The letter emphasizes that costly tasers would generate heavy legal fees from officer overuse and abuse, posing serious injury and death risks, especially to SFPD’s targeted populations: people in public mental health crisis and people of color.
Reporting and supporting as a revolutionary poverty journalist, I have done multiple stories on the increasing criminalization suffered by houseless peoples in the U.S. As a daughter raised in a houseless family, I was personally cited, arrested and eventually incarcerated for the act of being houseless and living in the car with my mama.
Police Chief Greg Suhr scheduled six community forums in September and October to discuss tasers replacing guns in mental health crisis situations. When a citizen group kept showing up at hearings asking questions about hundreds of taser deaths and maimings and supporting SFPD Crisis Intervention Team training in verbal de-escalation, Chief Suhr cancelled the community forums.
Residents of the Sunset district of San Francisco voiced support for a racist, classist, anti-poor people measure which would make it doubly illegal to park RVs and campers where houseless people sleep on the streets in the Sunset. To speak back to this legislation, call the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to oppose ‘Large Vehicle Parking Restrictions,’ Item 120142 on their agenda for Tuesday, Sept. 25.
On Oct. 16-17, SFPD conducted a brutal raid on the Occupy San Francisco encampment. Videographers recorded police stepping on backs, dragging protestors and striking them with batons. Before police dispersed, tents reappeared. San Francisco occupiers joined the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality in a short Bayview march protesting unrelenting police assaults on residents.
On Monday, April 11, in San Francisco, I felt it was not a romantic notion that my videographer Scott and I were embedded among partisan guerrillas deep in enemy territory. We were all joined together in a viciously difficult corporate class war.
Your community needs you at the Police Commission hearing on Tasers: this Wednesday, Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m., in Room 400, City Hall. A study found that in the first year of Taser usage, sudden deaths in custody go up 550 percent and officer shootings more than double. The United Nations and Amnesty International consider Tasers to be torture devices, and the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild, and the NAACP oppose their use. It is certain that Taser usage does not lead to fewer shootings.