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.
Yesterday at the opening of the so-named “Grim Sleeper” trial, prosecutor Beth Silverman laid out what seemed like a strong case against the suspect. But in her opening statement, Silverman painted the victims as “prostitutes” and “crack addicts,” racist and sexist stereotypes that the Black Coalition has had to continuously object to when the police and media used them to dismiss the fact that human beings were being murdered.
Aaron Peskin becomes the District 3 supervisor on Dec. 8 and will then join his colleagues in rejecting the planned new jail for San Francisco. There likely was a board majority against the current jail plan even without Peskin’s vote, since London Breed’s district is against it and she is up for re-election, but his replacement of Julie Christensen ensures the jail’s defeat.
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.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is incentivizing communities to take steps to end criminalization in its $1.9 billion grant program for federal homelessness funding. HUD’s new requirement for applicants of federal homelessness funding follows on the heels of the Department of Justice’s announcement in August that criminalizing individuals for being homeless is unconstitutional.
Now that the California Apartment Association (CAA) has blocked the implementation of renters’ protections, including rent control and just cause eviction protections, in Richmond, thousands of renters are at risk of being severely exploited with massive rent increases. Additionally, thousands more are now at risk of displacement and homelessness due to no-cause evictions.
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.”
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.
I listened as the supervisor at the Housing Authority of Monterey County rattled off a long list of reasons that they thought released their agency from any responsibility for the crisis of Bessie Taylor and her disabled son Devonte, who are now living houselessly in Salinas, California, because the Housing Authority took too long to move on the family’s reasonable accommodation claim, and they subsequently lost their home of 22 years.
Sin Barras organized the Cages Kill-Freedom Rally to save lives after six people locked up in the Santa Cruz County Jail have died since August 2012. The Jan. 24 rally was endorsed by a wide range of local, statewide, national, and international groups, demonstrating that murder and torture is happening in jails and prisons everywhere, not just in Santa Cruz. Stop the abuse and torture in the Santa Cruz County Jail and jails and prisons everywhere!
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.
Calls have flooded the POOR Magazine office from families and elders in desperate search for help and support to battle land thieves that utilize the Ellis Act to break laws that are in place to “protect the people” but that are overlooked or flat out ignored. As the hipster-techies invade the once family-oriented “City by the Bay,” the families and elders who contributed to the life of the Bay Area now watch helplessly as our homes are being stolen from us.
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.
As a Black woman, to hear Ron Thomas declare, “What this means is that all of us need to be very afraid now … Police officers everywhere can beat us, kill us, do whatever they want because it was proven here today they can get away with it,” I automatically want to ask him where has he been?
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.
The attack on low-income families in the Section 8 voucher program (Housing Choice Voucher Program) in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and across the nation intensified Sept. 27 when the U.S. Senate voted to continue with the catastrophic across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration with their vote for the Reid-Mikulski Amendment No. 1974 to House Joint Resolution 59.
Whack, tap, crack – the sound of the steel police flashlight on a car window is like no other, and it always had the same effect on homeless me and mama: blood-curdling fear. I thought about our constant police harassment, abuse and eventual arrest for the sole act of being houseless in Amerikkka when I heard about South Carolina’s “new” law that officially made it illegal to be homeless in downtown Columbia, S.C.
Unseen scars are what so many of our single parents in poverty are struggling with, living with, pushing through. Add the requisite criminalization of poor parents through welfare systems, child protective services, landlords and school systems and, for immigrant parents, the anti-immigrant hate and racism; it is a constant battlefield.
The story of the violent crime of foreclosure and its roots in capitalist greed has been covered, albeit rarely, in mainstream and independent media. But the never heard voices are those of the thousands of families and disabled elders – majority people of color, like Ms. Galves – who have been literally thrown into the streets post-foreclosure and are now homeless.
The untold story of foreclosure is the thousands of disabled elders and families who end up homeless when they lose their homes. Join POOR Magazine for an emergency press conference and rally to hear their stories at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 1164 Church St. at 24th, San Francisco, in front of Ms. Galves’ former home.