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Archive | August, 2010

Federal Government’s Complicity in Dismantling the Nation’s Affordable Housing and Shredding the Safety Net

WRAP housekeys graphic

Local municipalities have created laws that dehumanize and criminalize the homeless masses who simply have no place left to go. County jails have become this country’s largest residential mental health facilities.

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Life in the Slow Lane, An Old Man, A Van and His Dog

Framed. Although he is living a difficult life as a homeless vehicle dweller in San francisco, he adamantly rejects the notion that he is a homeless person. in his mind, he is a misunderstood, highly principled artist. Robert L. Terrell

I have never seen him visited by a relative or friend. Although he is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people, his is an extremely lonely existence.

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Bay Area Protesters Defend the Rights of Immigrants

Protesters in the bay Area marched against Arizona’s law. David Bacon photo

“It’s no coincidence that Arizona has this outrageous law, because all the proposals from Washington on immigration reform encourage the same criminalization, racial profiling and discrimination. Immigrant communities are demanding an end to these policies and laws, including ‘Secure Communities’ and ‘E-Verify.’ We deserve a new direction from Washington, with real change, including legalization and workers’ rights.” — Renee Saucedo, La Raza Centro Legal

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‘This Law Is Very Unjust!’

Teresa Mina was fired in a crackdown on immigrant workers. David Bacon photo

Teresa Mina was a San Francisco janitor, member of Service Employees Union Local 87, when she was fired because the company said she didn’t have legal immigration documents. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told her employer to fire 463 workers because they lacked legal immigration status. She told her story to David Bacon the day before she returned to Mexico.

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The Message of Arnieville Lives On

A banner at the entrance to the Arnieville encampment quotes the prophetic warning of Martin Luther King: A nation that spends more money on the military than on programs of social uplift approaches spiritual death. Photo by Lydia Gans

The homeless people “really stood in solidarity with the disabled in this class action and took care of them — helped them get in their beds, helped them turn over at night, carried them in and out of their tents, stayed up all night with security.” — Dan McMullin

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No Place at the Table

Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

Across the nation, cities restrict charitable meal programs for the hungry and homeless. “As the recession and foreclosure crises drive dramatic
increases in poverty and homelessness, communities should
be embracing solutions to homelessness, rather than punishing
people for feeding those in need.” — Maria Foscarinis

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Poetry, August 2010

“Wet Night on Sutter Street” “Wet Night on Sutter Street” by Christine Hanlon, oil on canvas, 20” by 32 1/3”


by Claire J. Baker/

May you/
arrive at/
not by dying/
but by LIVING./
May the end/
begin a/

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PETRA Spells the Death of Public Housing

Holiday Home Luke 16: 25” A homeless man finds no home in this scene reminiscent of Thomas Kinkade’s art. Market-rate housing means mansions for the wealthy, shopping carts for the poor Painting by Jos Sances, 33” x 33”

The privatization scheme threatens to displace hundreds of thousands of low-income families, elderly and the disabled from their public housing units, and future funding shortfalls in the Section 8 program would place the housing units at risk of bank foreclosure.

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Berkeley shelter closes

The closure of the largest homeless shelter in Berkeley leaves many with nowhere to go

Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.