Homeless , anti-poverty, and civil rights advocacy groups will keep working throughout the rest of the 2015-2016 legislative session to pass a bill aimed at stopping the growing criminalization of people who are homeless.
“Shame!” “Shame!” cried a man in the back of the Capitol’s largest, packed committee room. The vote was not yet tallied, but it was clear: The Homeless Bill of Rights was failing. A sergeant-at-arms escorted the man from the room. Other protestors replaced him.
Activists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and across the state of California trekked to Sacramento on April 7, 2015 to lobby for the “Right to Rest. They are part of the growing movement aimed at ending the criminalization of homeless people and stopping police profiling and harassment of all people in public places.
If approved by the full House and Senate, the massive budget reductions will amount to more than $500 billion in cuts per year to the federal government’s domestic programs during the next ten years, totally counter to President Obama’s recent budget proposals that would fund domestic programs in FY 2016.
A new Institute for Policy Studies report, “The Poor Get Prison,” declares: “A democratic society that purports ‘freedom and justice for all’ can’t coexist with one that profiles, criminalizes and blames poor, black and Latino communities. We need to take collective responsibility for our hostile nation where the poor get prison.”
One day a child was laid in my arms/ My first born, a daughter who looked like me,/ Who showed me unconditional love,/ This was a beautiful new experience/ To have a daughter,/ I was changed to my core ... I was transformed/ I became somebody’s mama.
“There was going to be a big demonstration the next day — people throwing things and stuff. Everybody was angry and I was just as angry as anybody else, but I was a pacifist and besides, if I threw anything, I’d probably hit my foot.” — Julia Vinograd
The Suitcase Clinic began when a group of UC students gave medical aid out of suitcases at the Berkeley Flea Market to homeless individuals. Great value is placed on truly listening and it is in these dialogues of love and understanding that the heart of the Suitcase Clinic lies.
Gary Johnson was one of thousands of people experiencing homelessness when the sheriffs came to roust him. Now he is sentenced to jail for the crime of being caught asleep in Santa Cruz at night. This “criminal” has been smacked down repeatedly by The Law precisely because he was homeless.
My sons have helped bring gifts to the poor on Christmas and meals to the homeless in the cold winter. They’ve hugged strangers and told them that not only God loves them, but that they love them, after offering prayer and a warm meal and blanket to sustain them at night.
More and more cities turn to curfews, prohibitions on begging, sleeping, or “camping” in response to the visible poverty in their public spaces, despite the fact that criminalization is “the most expensive and least effective” method of addressing homelessness. Jail costs two to three times the cost of supportive housing.