Timothy Busby is a homeless writer who lives in Berkeley. He writes from his past five years of experiences while living on the streets from New Orleans to Berkeley, and many cities in between.
Through the long hard process of becoming homeless, you break, lose sight of the basic values of life and become depressed to a level only the home- less few experiences.
In April, the City of Berkeley voted to enforce a new law that limits the amount of space your personal be- longings can take up on the sidewalk. The new regulations state that if your personal property takes up more than 9 square feet, the city can take it away, and you could be subject to a citation.
Berkeley’s homeless residents staged a protest march on Wednesday, October 23rd, starting at the Seabreeze encampment on University Ave and West Frontage road and ending at Berkeley City Hall. The purpose of the march was to bring attention to the cruelty of what I will call the “homeless shuffle,” the process by which agencies such as CalTrans, the Berkeley Police Department, and Amtrak take turns forcing people to move from corner to corner, and disposing of all their personal property in the process.
I would like to share my experiences with one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. For the purposes of this story, I will call her Emerald. And if you believe in the powers that gemstones and crystals contain, her name is very appropriate.
Summertime is here in sunny Northern California, but what does that mean for the homeless living on the streets? It’s not that hard to figure out, it means limited access to showers, sweating all day, wearing stinking clothes and a real need for access to the basic human necessities.
Jesse Arreguín has been the Mayor of Berkeley since 2016. He ran on a platform of building more affordable housing, raising the minimum wage, and changing the city’s approach to addressing the homeless crisis. In the years since, he has been met with both praise and criticism: while some have embraced his leadership, others have argued that he is not as progressive on the issue of homelessness as he led his constituency to believe—such as with his yes vote on the council’s recent overnight RV parking ban.
People measure success in many different ways. For some people it’s marriage and children. For others it is making money. For many it’s just paying the bills due each month. And then you have people, such as myself, who believe that success is in the friendships you make, and in fulfilling the basic necessities needed in order to survive.
It was January 2016 when I found myself in Berkeley, California, by way of New Orleans. Little did I know
I would like to tell you about a friend I met while living on the streets of Berkeley, approximately three