Around 50 residents of a self-organized encampment known as Camp Resolution, which has been occupied since late September of this year, are now celebrating after the Sacramento City Council was pushed to pass a unanimous vote against a sweep by police, leading to a pause in a scheduled mass eviction. While the future of the space remains unknown, residents and supporters of the camp are currently rallying in support and gathering food and other supplies. What began as a safe place for people living in RVs and tiny homes, became another skirmish in an increasing war on the houseless, as Democratic run cities turned away from progressive policies towards an all out attack on the poor.
Portland, Oregon - A new study by a pair of researchers tried to find the root cause of homelessness in cities across the U.S. It revealed how Portland's housing market plays a much bigger part in the crisis than many might think. The urban study called “Homelessness is a Housing Problem” found that the biggest factors in the homeless crisis are not necessarily addiction or mental health but rather a combination of high rent prices and a lack of affordable housing. “Any given night in Multnomah County, five per 1,000 people are experiencing homelessness, which is quite a high number,” said Clayton Aldern, one of the researchers behind the study. The data dates back to 2019 and looks at the 30 largest urban areas in the country.
Oakland, California - It's been a long-term problem addressing the homeless crisis in Oakland and now those at the center of the fight are trying their own solutions. A group of unhoused individuals are buying land and building their own community to get people off the street permanently. The land on MaCarthur Boulevard and 76th Avenue is where they plan to build their own rent-free permanent housing community. “This dream of Homefulness is a homeless people solution to homelessness,” said Tiny, co-founder of the organization Homefulness. The 10-thousand-square-foot lot was bought by a group of current and formerly unhoused individuals. They finished their first project earlier this year where they’re providing 11 families with free housing, schooling, and healing-centered programming.
As soaring rents force many out of their homes, advocates across the country are battling a slew of state and local measures that criminalize homelessness and imperil those living on the street. Police in riot gear stormed the chambers of a Los Angeles City Council meeting on Tuesday after one protester climbed a bench to confront Council President Nury Martinez over an ordinance banning homeless encampments near schools and daycares. Martinez briefly recessed the meeting as dozens of activists chanted “Abolish 41.18!” — a reference to the ordinance. Last week, around 70 protesters shut down a council vote over the same measure, carrying signs with messages like “If I die unhoused – forget burial – just drop my body on the steps of L.A. City Hall.”
This morning, the Los Angeles City Council got an earful from protestors opposing an expansion of LA Municipal Code ordinance 41.18, the city’s controversial “anti-camping” law that has been maligned by activists for unfairly targeting unhoused people. The law will now include a ban on sitting, laying, or sleeping within 500 feet of schools or daycares. The council voted 11-3 to approve the expansion after a raucous meeting, which was temporarily put into recess when a member of the public climbed over the podium and was handcuffed. Reporter Adam Mahoney spoke to unhoused residents about what they thought of the law. He says he received mixed responses for his recent Capital B news investigation. “There are some folks who didn't even know that 41.18 existed, right?
While Harris County is spending millions of dollars on mental health services and service-providing agencies to reduce the number of mentally ill people entering its county jails, activists on the ground are tackling the problem from another angle—by providing direct support to the county’s homeless population. “We don’t have the best safety nets in Texas, and from the mental health standpoint, there really aren’t the mental health services available that people need,” Catherine Villarreal, director of communications at the Coalition for the Homeless, told TRNN. But Villarreal also stressed that, for people experiencing homelessness and/or mental health crises, the lack of healthcare resources and social support is a crisis unto itself: “when someone ends up homeless, often that didn’t happen overnight.”
Starting July 1, people experiencing homelessness who sleep on state-owned land could face prison time and heavy fines. The controversial law has many people concerned about the unhoused community in the area. That’s why several people gathered at Legislative Plaza for a rally and march to Commerce Street Park. Some advocates are planning on sleeping overnight at the park to send a message to lawmakers that homelessness should not be a crime. The group Open Table Nashville organized the protest. The new law makes it a felony to camp on public property and could lead to up to six years in prison and thousands in fine. It also makes it a misdemeanor to camp under state bridges and overpasses.
Oakland, California - On Saturday, several local organizations kicked off their plan to end the growing housing and homelessness crisis in Oakland. Gathering in Oscar Grant Plaza, in front of the new art installation that calls out police murders of Black people, the groups sought to mobilize the crowd around another kind of racialized violence: displacement. “The stress of worrying about being evicted creates health problems that are killing people. It’s not just gentrification. It’s genocide,” said Sharena Thomas. She is one of six organizers, now known as Moms 4 Housing, who sparked an international call to make housing a human right with their occupation of a home in West Oakland in 2019. Speakers painted a devastating picture of the housing crisis in Oakland.
The ninth Summit of the Americas is taking place in Los Angeles from June 6 to 10, organized by the US-influenced Organization of American States. The White House, in announcing the US as the host of the Summit back in January, stated: “Working with the city of Los Angeles, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, and Governor of California Gavin Newsom, the United States looks forward to convening leaders and stakeholders across the hemisphere to advance our shared commitment to economic prosperity, security, human rights, and dignity.” The People’s Summit is being organized concurrently in Los Angeles as a working class call to action against the US government interests that have historically underwritten the Summit of the Americas.
At a fundraiser on Friday, Adams told The New York Times that city agencies would identify the encampments, offer residents homeless outreach services, and then “dismantle” their makeshift shelters — all within a two-week period. On Saturday, a spokesperson for the mayor said the initial sweep has already begun, led by the New York Police Department, as well as the sanitation, social services and parks departments. The task force aims to clear 150 or more makeshift shelters on its first pass, which began on March 18th. “We are breaking down siloes and working together across government to keep New Yorkers safe and our streets clean,” Adams told Gothamist in a written statement.
San Francisco, California - On a Friday evening in the fall of 2019, Maria Flores stood waiting with her “crazy heavy” duffel bag and her teenage son outside the office of a man whose home she cleans. A friend of hers had told him that Flores had been evicted from the apartment she had lived in for 16 years. There, the single mom had paid $700 a month in rent ever since she’d moved in eight-months pregnant. Now, one night at a motel cost as much as $250. “Every single day I was looking for a place to live,” Flores said. He’d offered two air mattresses, keys to his office, and permission to sleep there on weekends. For the better part of a year, Flores, who asked to use only one of her two surnames, lived that way: Back and forth, spend and scrimp.
The number of Americans dying while homeless has surged dramatically in the past five years, an exclusive analysis by the Guardian in conjunction with an academic expert at the University of Washington has shown. An examination of 20 US urban areas found the number of deaths among people living without housing shot up by 77% in the five years ending in 2020. The rise from 2016 through 2020 was driven by many factors, including ever-rising numbers of people living on the street and the growing dangers they face, such as violence, untreated disease and increasingly deadly illicit drug supplies. From 65-year-old Randy Ferris, killed when a car veered into a California sidewalk encampment, Justine Belovoskey, 60, who died alone in a tent during a Texas cold snap, and Anthony Denico Williams, stabbed to death at age 20 in Washington DC, to scores of young people succumbing to overdoses on the streets, their stories reflect the harrowing tragedy of an epidemic of homelessness.
An alarming new survey of thousands of grocery workers across three western U.S. states reveals that they suffer from shockingly high rates of poverty. More than three-quarters of the workers meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of “food insecure,” and 14% say they have been homeless within the past year. The survey, which was funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and performed by the nonprofit research group the Economic Roundtable, drew responses from more than 10,000 workers at Kroger, the largest all-grocery chain in the United States. (Kroger also owns other grocery brands including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, and City Market.) The workers surveyed live in Southern California, Washington state, and Colorado, and all of them are UFCW members...
Food Not Bombs was founded in 1980 to provide direct aid to people while educating about the perversion of spending so much on the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) while tens of millions of people do not have the basic necessities. It has turned into a global movement to build food sovereignty and organize systems outside the establishment. Clearing the FOG speaks with Keith McHenry, the co-founder of Food Not Bombs, about the criminalization of homelessness, their recent legal victory in Florida and why we must be concerned about increasing homelessness in the United States and the overall direction the country is going. McHenry speaks about his family ties to the founding of the military and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the violence he and others have experienced because of their activism.
Anew campaign, Housing Not Handcuffs, is attempting to stop the criminalization of homelessness and poverty in the United States. Led by the National Homelessness Law Center, the effort builds on research the Law Center has been conducting since 2006. The Law Center’s latest report, issued in late November, tracks laws in all fifty states—plus Washington, D.C.—that make it a criminal offense to sleep, lie down, ask for money, loiter, erect a tent, put down a bedroll, “loaf,” or feed unhoused people in public.