Archive | January, 2015

Are Homeless People Beautiful?

We all find sunsets and meadowlarks and fields of flowers beautiful, whether we are rich or poor, housed or homeless. How did beauty become a cudgel to beat people up?

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Silicon Valley’s Brilliant Design: Homeless Families in the Rain

Developers and Silicon Valley billionaires are so busy trying to milk profits out of our communities they don’t see the inevitable result of ignoring people’s housing needs: Families in the rain.

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The Eviction of America’s Largest Homeless Camp

The Jungle was lodged in the heart of the venture-capital drenched Silicon Valley, 10 miles from the headquarters of the world’s most profitable corporation. It is important to remember that those living in the Jungle were not there “by choice,” but because they had nowhere else to go.

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Gentrification Is Making Us Sick

Oakland activists are working with the Public Health Department to create a vision of healthy development without displacement. Also, Just Cause won a landmark victory with the Tenant Protection Ordinance that will protect thousands of tenants from harassment by landlords — the first protection for Oakland tenants in more than a decade.

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Remember the Children Born On Our Streets

The International Day for Human Rights, held at St. Mary’s Center, was an occasion to honor the memory of people who had died homeless on our city streets during the past year. But more than that, it was a time to reaffirm a commitment to the fight for social change.

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Dave Ferguson’s Lifelong Mission of Opening Doors

Dave Ferguson gave his entire life in service to the poorest of the poor. He was the director of the Open Door Mission in Oakland for 41 years.

“Dave has been constant, like a rock, offering the welcome, free food — and basic human kindness to everyone,” said Susan Werner. The message for all who are hungry and homeless, and who need not just food and shelter, but love and support, is that Dave Ferguson’s spirit continues to live.

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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.

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January Poetry of the Streets

A homeless woman sets up a lonely camp on the side of the road in Santa Cruz.

Outside our window/ We spot on a rain-stripped/ eucalyptus trunk/ colors we’ve never seen,/ before: shades of yellow,/ gold, lime green, tan./ A homeless woman/ stripped of an easy life/ also reveals colors/ when we pause long, enough to sense and see.

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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.