A Journalist in Defense of Human Rights

“At night when you’d be sleeping, you’d hear the spectral sound of the shopping carts outside in the streets. I’d think to myself, ‘Who is out there at 3 in the morning by themselves with a shopping cart?’ Just the loneliness of it was hard to ignore.”

How to Save a Life

On the street, I see someone who looks like my brother, dresses like him, moves like him. For a moment, I suspend the truth and say, “There’s my brother.” The moment passes too soon. But there are many who suffer still, and I try to treat them like brothers, for my brother.

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The Street Spirit Interview with Amir Soltani

People wanted the recycling center gone because they just didn’t want the poor around them. It’s a game of Monopoly in which everybody’s interests are linked to the price of real estate, without the slightest concern about what speculation in land prices does to communities.

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The Debate Over Tiny Homes: Ask Those Who Have No Home

Living on the streets is dangerous and debilitating. People’s meager belongings can be stolen; they can be assaulted. If we listen to people who are currently housed but have experienced periods of homelessness, it is clear that the effects, physical and psychological, have never left them.

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Remembering Dave Linn: An Attorney for the People

It is hard to defend high-profile People’s Park defendants in a contemporary legal world. It is hard to be the one man in Birkenstocks surrounded by Italian suits. But Dave Linn took the cases most people would assess as unwinnable, and gave them his full attention.

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Out on the Street, Hope Is Out of Reach

I recently spent the night at the homeless encampment near West Grand Avenue in Oakland. We sat on milk crates on a cold night, and we ate sandwiches while I listened as they talked about their fears, despairs and why help takes so long to reach them.

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Sidestepping Democracy: A Berkeley Tradition Lives On

The anti-panhandling law, the anti-sitting law, the two-square-feet-of-possessions-only law, and the proposal to equip the smoke-free downtown with ashtrays have one thing in common: the Downtown Berkeley Association. This unelected group was given a free hand in crafting contradictory and unconstitutional legislation.

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Next Step in Santa Cruz: Task Force on Homelessness

Several wondered why service providers and members of the homeless community were not included in the preparation of the report. The Task Force must include the faith community, neighborhood groups, local businesses, advocates for the homeless and, most importantly, members of our local homeless community.

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Homeless Spike in Rural California Linked to Silicon Valley Sprawl

Housing costs are soaring and homelessness is rising in Central Valley communities due to Silicon Valley sprawl and the influx of Bay Area commuters

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Hate Man Chose Life on the Streets Until the Very End

The Hate Man, Mark Hawthorne, had been a New York Times reporter before dropping out. Hawthorne’s sister visited him two or three times a year and admired his every move. “We like to say he lived the way he wanted to live,” she said, “and that’s a rare thing.”

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Unhoused People Silenced by Oregon Legislature

The ACLU of Oregon documented 224 laws in the state that criminalize or punish homeless people for life-sustaining activities.

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Houseless Activists in Santa Cruz Issue Call to Conscience

“While the federal government continues to eradicate the social safety net, the cost of housing in Santa Cruz continues to rise, creating an unstable situation locally, and leaving many of our poorest residents without homes. Local action to reduce the cost of housing and provide homes for all is long overdue.”

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Art Saved My Life

A sun worth of passion sparked in me my new life. It had meaning with the loss of my mom. I gained a new self. I started drawing a year later. I wanted to escape from my grief in high school. I was taught how to paint — colors became my best friend.

Youth Design a Tiny House Village in Berkeley

“I’m so thrilled about the opportunity our church will have to build a tiny house. It’s such a do-able project for a local church; a deeply satisfying way to put some sweat equity behind our longing for economic justice; a poignant means of demonstrating our care for the most vulnerable neighbors.”

Tiny Homes: Homeowners’ and Developers’ Scam?

Any empty residential or commercial space should be used in this housing emergency to situate people in need. The only thing missing is the key — not a metaphorical key, the actual key to an actual space with heat, electricity, cooking and bathroom facilities, etc. No miniaturization, no shanty-town necessary.

Trump Administration’s Ruinous Cuts to HUD

Before he became HUD Secretary, Ben Carson did not have any experience in housing policies or in running a housing agency. His bizarre appointment to HUD has resulted in nothing short of bewilderment and frustration for housing advocates. Carson supports Trump’s proposed $6.2 billion in budget cuts for HUD.

Living Under a Tarp Next to the Facebook Campus

A homeless campsite across the road from the Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley is one of about 10 camps that dot the boggy terrain. They are a striking sight near the brightly painted buildings housing the multi-billion-dollar corporation. The contrast epitomizes the Bay Area wealth gap.

Defying the Men in White

When I was 12, my father, bless him, had said, “The men in white are feared. If you say something you’re not supposed to say, the men in white will come and take you away. You will never be heard from again. God knows what happens to you after they take you away.”