Rhode Island has already passed a Homeless Bill of Rights. Oregon, Vermont, Connecticut and Missouri are joining California in calling for one. A Homeless Bill of Rights is particularly significant today. The federal government has abandoned any pretense of its responsibility to “ensure safe, decent and affordable” housing for the poorest people.
Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin accused ICE of undermining her city’s devastated economy in the middle of a recession. “Their firing is a violation of their human rights. When they say that [immigration] raids are targeting criminals, it’s not true. People who are just trying to make a living are being targeted big time.”
After spending 30 days in jail, a 52-year-old homeless man was sentenced to three years probation for illegal lodging, or sleeping outdoors. “A tired homeless man faced up to three years in prison for dozing off on a milk crate,” said Elisa Della-Piana. “Prison! For sleeping while sitting up…”
The federal government is obligated to offer homeless service providers unused government property for free before trying to sell it. However, the court found that many federal agencies “appear to be hiding potentially eligible properties from the Title V process” — and that this widespread form of land banking is illegal.
The Disneyfication of Downtown Oakland — Business Improvement Districts and the Battle for Public Space
Large real estate corporations hired New City America to establish two Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Oakland. The Downtown Oakland BID and the Lake Merritt BID are working aggressively on behalf of Oakland’s owning class, focusing on driving youth of color, activists, the poor, and houseless persons out of district boundaries.
The victory over Measure S is the first time since 1994 that a ballot measure to criminalize homeless people has been defeated anywhere in the nation. This victory is even more remarkable considering that Berkeley’s powerful business organizations vastly outspent the financially strapped homeless organizations that opposed the initiative.
Residents of the Sutter Hotel have sued the building’s owners, claiming that they illegally required residents to move from room to room every 28 days or leave the hotel, in violation of their rights. Plaintiffs are suing to make sure the practice is stopped, and also for money damages.
“I really think it’s a stupid measure and it’s not going to do anything to help people on the street,” said Jesse Arreguin of the Berkeley City Council. “It’s not going to solve homelessness, it’s not going to do anything to improve the plight of small businesses in our city.”