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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.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by G
Tuesday Jul 17th, 2012 8:13 AM
The science of tyranny marches on...

Evidence is building that poor sleep patterns may do more than make you cranky: The amount and quality of shuteye you get could be linked to mental deterioration and Alzheimer's disease, four new studies suggest.

Too little or too much sleep was equated with two years' brain aging in one study. A separate study concluded that people with sleep apnea -- disrupted breathing during sleep -- were more than twice as likely to develop mild thinking problems or dementia compared to problem-free sleepers. Yet another suggests excessive daytime sleepiness may predict diminished memory and thinking skills, known as cognitive decline, in older people.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-07-poor-age-brain.html

Inspect page 5 of the 2012-13 Annual Action Plan for HUD grants linked to below. The City of Santa Cruz is granting the Homeless Services Center (HSC) $216K to rehabilitate the HSC Day Center Project. Mayor Don Lane is the president of the board of directors for the HSC. This is a serious conflict of interest, explaining why he vociferously defends the HSC, even when they violate federal nondiscrimination laws against disabled homeless people. It also suggests a motive for retaliation against the disabled homeless people I represent since he claimed on a Santa Cruz Community TV forum I participated in last week that I was threatening to cut off the HSC's federal funding which if true would cause the HSC to lose this $216K.
by John E. Colby
Tuesday Jul 17th, 2012 7:36 PM

As I suspected, Homeless Services Center (HSC) Program Director Shelley McKittrick lied to me about the supposed "no impact zones" the HSC has established on the HSC and in a two block area surrounding the HSC. She demanded that two disabled homeless people I represent/advocate for — Megan Andrea Morgan and Stan Willis — abide by the "no impact zones" which the HSC established. I questioned the HSC's authority to police private property surrounding the HSC. Ms. McKittrick claimed that the HSC had an agreement with the City of Santa Cruz authorizing this.

Ms. McKittrick lied to me, and she knew she was going to be caught in a lie because I carbon copied her and Monica Martinez, the HSC executive director, my California Public Records Act (CPRA) request about these "no impact zones" to Santa Cruz City Clerk Administrator Bren Lehr.

As I suggested in my email correspondence to Ms. McKittrick this could be a motivation for the appearance of retaliation by her against Mr. Willis, by not recognizing me as his representative and refusing to extend his stay at the Paul Lee Loft shelter, operated by the HSC, like she has done for others.

Please inspect the CPRA request response stating that no records exist from Santa Cruz Custodian of Records Nydia Patiño by using the link below.
If you're outraged that a man dying of cancer is on the streets and lacks proper housing and healthcare, direct your anger away from some of the only folks (HSC) that are working with him and on to some more complex causes. The homeless shelter isn't causing his Stan's homelessness- there are many things causing it. There's a lack of truly affordable, supportive housing in Santa Cruz. Mental and physical health workers at the county and non-profit level are overworked and don't have the capacity to walk many needy homeless folks through the hoops it takes to access the services and housing they need. Many people spend years applying for disability benefits and then can barely afford rent in Santa Cruz once they start receiving payments. The economy is still weak enough that many workers in Santa Cruz are now homeless simply due to a lack of available jobs. There are many reasons that folks like Stan are homeless- some of which are in his control and some of which are due to larger systemic factors. It's a more complex picture than what you're portraying- and a temporary emergency shelter is not the villain here.
by John E. Colby
Tuesday Jul 17th, 2012 10:08 PM
The homeless shelters receive federal funding. In return they are required to abide by federal nondiscrimination laws and other requirements. The shelters are not meeting the obligations of their federal funding. The law is the law. Discrimination is discrimination.

As I explained to Mayor Don Lane in the Community TV forum on disabled homelessness, the social service network in Santa Cruz County for the (disabled) homeless has serious systemic defects. Throwing more money and resources at this defective system in unlikely to yield a sizable return. From the disabled homeless people I have interviewed, the shelters not only routinely mistreat (disabled) homeless people, but they show favoritism in how they mete out their resources and assistance.

If the shelters including the people who work there deserve criticism then they should accept it.

Moreover, Mayor Lane admitted that at least 520 severely disabled homeless individuals cannot be housed by the current defective system. How can he justify making these severely disabled homeless individuals into criminals with Santa Cruz city ordinances criminalizing homelessness? Where are these severely disabled homeless people supposed to sleep? The Santa Cruz Police Department announced that they will be conducting sweeps of homeless encampments. These are the same encampments which the County of Santa Cruz funding documents claim they send healthcare workers to in order to treat the homeless people there. How can you treat homeless people where you are making sweeps to remove them?

Mayor Lane and the homeless services providers are hypocritical. They give with one hand and take away with the other. They transform severely disabled homeless people who have no other options into criminals, who will end up in the county jail, costing taxpayers much more money to house than if they were housed normally. This is hypocrisy of the first degree — it should not be tolerated by Santa Cruz voters.
by G
Wednesday Jul 18th, 2012 8:36 AM
Perhaps Santa Cruz County, greedy consumer of ICE and DHS funding, haters of the poor and the active, is 'on board' with the 'New American Dream'. Apparently the smell of #SoftTyranny isnt very rousing. [...]

Continuing in the theme of what NSA whistleblowers have to say about Americans under mass surveillance, such as William Binney's claim that the NSA has dossiers on nearly every U.S. citizen, we'll take a look at another former NSA official, Thomas A. Drake, who was also brave enough to turn whistleblower and had his life turned upside down because of it.

RT had a very interesting interview with Drake, who said, "Security has effectively become the State religion; you don't question it. And if you question it, then your loyalty is questioned." . . . "Speaking truth of power is very dangerous in today's world." The journalist pointed out that investigative journalists are labeled as "terrorist helpers" for trying to reveal the truth, to which Drake said the government's take is "you go after the messenger because the last thing you want to do is deal with the message." The NSA, the government, "They object" to anyone who dares to "air dirty laundry" or show the skeletons in the closet. "Not only do they object to it, they decide to turn it into criminal activity."

[...]

"You also have the fear element. Fear in itself is control. And what people will do if they are fearful is to censor themselves." Regarding NSA and other government surveillance powers, Drake added, "What happens if they don't like you? What happens if you speak ill-will against the government? What happens if you say something that they consider disloyal?" Drake pointed out that what happened to him, a top government executive, sends a "very chilling message that if you speak out, if you speak up, we're going to hammer you and we're going to hammer you hard."

Wielding fear like a weapon and using policy as opposed to the Constitution and protections granted to us via the Bill of Rights is very dangerous and seems very anti-American. I agree with Drake, "We are going down a very slippery slope in America."

Me too.
by Dan
Wednesday Jul 18th, 2012 10:18 PM
...hypocrites. Simply put there is not enough money or space available. Shelters are a short term solution for a long term problem. Yet the homeless also present a health and safety problem for the community. I can understand why the greater Santa Cruz community is not enthralled with an influx of homeless from other parts of the state and country.

That is an issue Fresno city government is confronting right now. Other communities in California are effectively shipping their homeless problems to Fresno, telling their homeless about the ACLU settlement of a few years ago and suggesting they'd be way better off on our streets.

Like Santa Cruz Fresno just had a brutal murder committed by a homeless guy not originally from Fresno. This guy pled guilty to murder and at his sentencing this week told the judge he had planned to kill everyone in the house, that he enjoyed murdering people and that he would continue to kill in prison. Needless to say this has outraged our community and done nothing to help the cause of our homeless.

One also must recognize the 10 Year plans that were done in recent years were required by HUD as a requirement to get HUD funding. Most of them are wish lists, with little chance of ever being fully implemented. In other words they were a bureaucratic exercise to get dollars. Fresno has gotten 2,000 people off the street but there'll always be people who insist on being there.
by John E. Colby
Wednesday Jul 18th, 2012 11:18 PM
Your reasoning is specious. First, there are available resources for transitional and long term housing which none of my clients were ever directed to nor educated about. Second, the most recent survey of Santa Cruz homeless found that over 60% of them are born and raised in Santa Cruz County. There's no mass shipping of homeless people into Santa Cruz County.

Many of the people who live in Santa Cruz, like many of my clients, fell into homelessness because they became disabled. They are native Santa Cruz citizens who cannot afford regular housing because Santa Cruz is one of the least affordable housing markets in the nation. Our civic leaders have done next to nothing to address this. Almost no one on meager disability benefits can afford unsupported housing in Santa Cruz. Even the working poor are made homeless in Santa Cruz because they aren't paid living wages. Yet the Santa Cruz City Council continues pouring money and support into the retail and tourism industries, neither of which provide sustainable living wage jobs.

My clients fell into homelessness through no fault of their own. They have remained homeless because the homeless support system is systemically defective. Without help they cannot afford housing on their disability benefits because of the housing crisis created in a large part by successive Santa Cruz city councils who have nurtured the conditions for a housing crisis not only for my clients, but for many other Santa Cruz citizens too.

My disabled homeless clients are victims of a confluence of incompetence and callous policies by Santa Cruz leadership which have been decades in the making. There are no systemic solutions in sight while voters continue supporting politicians with failed policies. However my clients deserve safe, affordable housing in Santa Cruz where they were born and raised — I intend to help provide them that right.
by John E. Colby
Friday Jul 20th, 2012 1:20 AM
Here are the current times for Disabled Homeless Advocacy Panel

+    Sun    08/05/12    03:00 PM    Channel 27/73
+    Sat    08/04/12    08:00 PM     Channel 27/73
+    Thu    08/02/12    04:30 PM    Channel 27/73
+    Tue    07/31/12    07:00 PM    Channel 27/73
+    Mon    07/30/12    11:00 PM    Channel 27/73

Comcast channel 27/ Charter cable channel 73 Santa Cruz County only.
More listings in the future, see Community TV web schedule for channel 27/73.

The TV series on which the panel was presented is described in the link below: