Archive | February, 2016

Can Oakland Fix the Homeless Crisis It Created?

Many of Oakland’s homeless people are African Americans displaced or evicted, and now forced to move into illegal encampments. Oakland officials have used the decline in the African-American population to market Oakland to outsiders.

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Berkeley Declares an Official Shelter Crisis

The critical mass of people shivering in doorways, behind dumpsters and in parks has stuffed a sock in the “we do enough for the homeless” song Mayor Tom Bates usually sings.

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Berkeley Fails to Control Police Misconduct

During the Black Lives Matter protests in Berkeley, people trying to nonviolently protest police misconduct were obstructed and injured. Press officers were injured. Religious leaders were injured. People trying to help the injured were injured. Yet the Police Review Commission report about police tactics has glaring omissions.

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Greyhound Therapy: Symptom of a Failed Mental Health System

Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas handed out bus tickets to about 1500 gravely disabled patients, “transferring” them to states all over the country. Patients were sent to states where they had never been a resident and areas that had no mental institution prepared to receive them.

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The Growing Plight of Internally Displaced Persons in Oakland

After Robert’s wife died two years ago, he lost his will to survive. Since then he has lived on the streets. He says what is most disheartening is the stigma attached to homelessness. He said he is looked upon as if he isn’t human.

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Serving the People on Martin Luther King Day

Leajay lost everything all at once — her job, her housing, her belongings in storage, her children, and then her freedom when the Berkeley police arrested her and put her in jail. This happened many times. Homelessness is a crime in Berkeley, she said, and the remedy, incarceration.

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New Shelter System — and New Attacks on Berkeley’s Homeless

Under Mayor Tom Bates, Berkeley has become more conservative in its social policies, and much more intolerant towards homeless people. Mayor Bates and some City Council members have tried repeatedly to criminalize homelessness. As a result, people on the streets have been under attack repeatedly in recent years.

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San Francisco Supervisor Tries to Ban Tents in Winter

Activists condemned Supervisor Wiener’s proposal to ban tents during the winter, saying: “Mr. Wiener’s letter is in direct contrast to the very spirit of the City of St. Francis. His timing was telling, as was his lack of solutions. Homeless people are suffering enough, and his letter was surprisingly cruel.”

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Santa Cruz Activists Join Together to Defend Right to Sleep

The UN Human Rights Committee condemns the criminalization of homelessness in the U.S.. Santa Cruz attorney Ed Frey says, “Sleeping is and has always been a human right that should be protected and defended by international convention. The time is right for a full-throated advocacy of that right at the highest levels.”

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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.