San Francisco is notorious for its heavy reliance on police in responding to homelessness. It has taken the lead among California cities by enacting 23 laws that restrict where people can sit, lie or rest outdoors. From 2006 to 2014, San Francisco police issued 51,757 tickets for so-called “quality of life” offenses
The Supreme Court recognized dignity in all when it announced that LGBT couples have the right to marry. Let us hope that governments everywhere will someday address the issues of poverty in the same spirit. A disproportionate number of young people who end up on the streets identify as LGBT.
The Suitcase Clinic has come to realize that people want to be treated with respect and dignity. Instead of more citations and arrests, Berkeley officials should invest in supportive housing and increase the outreach workers who can help homeless persons find physical and mental stability off the streets.
The horrific attack targeted a church that has a long legacy in the struggle for African-American liberation and civil rights. Acknowledging the effects of generations of racism and violence is a first step. Taking concrete actions to transform our society to end racism and violence is the next.
Ending “No Pets Allowed” policies would greatly reduce the number of pets killed in shelters or abandoned on the street. Many tenants are unable to find a place where pets are allowed, and are coerced to surrender pets to a “shelter” which puts the animal to sleep if no home is found.
Sometimes at night, you recall who you once were. You were a kid and played with other kids. You had a mother and a father. You wanted to be a firefighter or an astronaut. You were loved. And in your darkest imaginings, you could never have seen yourself come to this place.
Berkeley homeowners have figured out that hitching a ride on Airbnb, although illegal, can make lots of money. People literally sleeping on the street cannot seem to move the hearts of City Council members, but homeowners looking to monetize their million-dollar asset seem to have no trouble getting through.
The Berkeley City Council was given the strong impression that not only the YMCA leadership, but the YMCA membership as well, supports new anti-homeless laws. Yet these laws are opposed by the ACLU, scores of religious leaders and civil rights groups as likely to be used in a discriminatory fashion.
“I heard the word ‘respect’ used so many times at this conference I still get goosebumps, because that has been one of the things that hurt me most that happened in this building,” said Eleanor Walden, a tenant at Redwood Gardens. “We were treated with distance, lack of respect.
Many believe that the removal of the bus shelter and bench was a punishment against the community because homeless people sometimes use the bus shelter. Many elderly and disabled persons depend on the bench as a place to rest and keep their groceries safe while waiting for the next bus.
The last Homeless Census reported that people living in vehicles was one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless community. “Our research has shown a dramatic increase in the number of people whose primary residence is a motor home or RV,” said Peter Connery of Applied Survey Research.