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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Homeless Services Center puts man dying from cancer on the streets
by John E. Colby
Tuesday Jul 17th, 2012 2:33 AM
Stan Willis, a severely disabled man dying from cancer with other debilitating medical conditions, was "exited" from the Paul Lee Loft shelter operated by the Homeless Services Center (HSC) last Sunday, on a non–business day when his bed would go unfilled.

In an email to HSC Programs Director Shelley McKittrick, which can be downloaded below, I outlined how the HSC putting Mr. Willis on the street, while extending the stay of others, could be construed as retaliation by either her or Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane. Ms. McKittrick has refused to respond to my emails ever since I asked to be acknowledged by the HSC as Mr. Willis's representative/advocate, and asked that a 60 year old diabetic woman in a wheelchair be allowed to stay in the HSC's Paul Lee Loft shelter more than on a day to day basis.

Mayor Don Lane or Ms. McKittrick appear to be retaliating against Mr. Willis, potentially because of what transpired in a Santa Cruz Community TV forum about the disabled homeless which at times cast the HSC, Ms. McKittrick and Mayor Don Lane poorly. I quoted Ms. McKittrick on TV as telling me that the HSC was not equipped to handle the disabled, suggesting that the HSC does not serve the homeless equally as they are required to by law. Moreover, I criticized the HSC for violating federal nondiscrimination laws which Mayor Lane did not dispute. Finally Mayor Lane was forced to admit that the HSC and the other homeless services in the County of Santa Cruz are inadequate, that they can only house a small portion of the severely disabled homeless, while the rest are made into criminals by Santa Cruz ordinances criminalizing homelessness.

Moreover, as I pointed out in my most recent email to Ms. McKittrick, Mayor Lane has a serious conflict of interest that might lead him to sanction retaliation against Mr. Willis and the other disabled homeless people I represent/advocate for. Mayor Lane is president of the HSC's board of directors, while the City of Santa Cruz directly funds about 10% of the HSC revenues according to their FY 2011–12 Common Application for funding to the City of Santa Cruz. Additionally, the City of Santa Cruz approved over $200,000 in HUD CDBG block grant money for rehabilitation work at the HSC campus. Thus Mayor Lane has motive to both vociferously defend any illegal action by the HSC and to retaliate against Mr. Willis as well as the other disabled homeless people I represent/advocate for.

I asked Ms. McKittrick to extend Mr. Willis's stay at the HSC's Paul Lee Loft shelter, as she has done for others, to remove any question of her or Mayor Lane retaliating against Mr. Willis. Ms. McKittrick refuses to respond to my request, as well as refusing to extend Mr. Willis's stay. The HSC has put a man dying from cancer with other debilitating medical conditions on the street. Is it retaliation? How many more disabled homeless people I represent/advocate for might Ms. McKittrick and Mayor Lane retaliate against, if they are indeed retaliating against them as I fear?

You can also view my recent email correspondence to Ms. McKittrick using the link below:
§HSC FY 2011-12 Common Application for funding from Santa Cruz
by John E. Colby Tuesday Jul 17th, 2012 2:33 AM

The funding application the Homeless Services Center (HSC) completed for FY 2011-12 to the City of Santa Cruz, obtained using the California Public Records Act.