On Homelessness and Human Rights in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has enacted bans on sleeping in parks and in vehicles, bans on blankets, and bans on sitting, camping, sleeping, breathing, resting, dreaming and existing. Have the activists been noisy and “boisterous” in protesting the cruel attacks on poor people in their community? Thank God they have.

Before the Deluge

Instead of focusing on solutions to the loss of homeless services in Santa Cruz, the council has decided instead to pave the pathway to criminalization. The council majority has no capacity to resist the Not In My Back Yard ravings of hostile people promoting greater fear of these roofless, powerless folks.

Santa Cruz Police Violate First Amendment Rights

The Freedom Sleepers are determined to rouse the conscience of the city against the Sleeping Ban. They plan to return to the park every week in increased numbers to press the community to support restoration of civil rights for homeless people. And they intend to force police to withdraw or arrest them.

Support Grows for Freedom Sleepouts in Santa Cruz

“In our view, the situation in Santa Cruz is legally indistinguishable from the situation in Boise. We believe that the Freedom Sleepers are working effectively to bring attention to these important issues and to protect significant constitutional rights.” — Peter Gelblum, American Civil Liberties Union

The Freedom Sleepers Demand Repeal of Camping Ban

“As a 1961 Freedom Rider, I served 39 days in the Mississippi penitentiary fighting discrimination. I and others will continue to resist discriminatory local ordinances which forbid individuals a place and opportunity to sleep. We call upon our City Council to find a way to alleviate homeless suffering.” — Rabbi Phil Posner

New Campaign for Basic Dignity Launched in Santa Cruz

“It is bad enough that homeless people are criminalized in our community. Do we really have to humiliate them as well?” asked Housing NOW Santa Cruz founding member Linda Lemaster. “Let’s hope that now is the time for basic dignity, an idea whose time has surely come,” said Rabbi Phil Posner.

Lawsuit Filed Over ‘Stay-Away’ Law in Santa Cruz

Homeless people in Santa Cruz have precious little voice at City Hall, and much less in the court system. They have been pushed around and forced out of public spaces. It’s time to push back. That is why advocates have filed a lawsuit to challenge the city’s “stay away order.”

New Vision of a ‘Camp of Last Resort’ in Santa Cruz

The proposal for a “Camp of Last Resort” was created in response to the lack of permanent housing for homeless people in Santa Cruz. Supporters believe that such a camp will provide shelter for some of the thousands who are illegally hunkering down on streets, trails or along the river.