SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
Indybay About Contact Newsletter Calendar Publish Community

Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Community Should Get Behind Creation of Warming Stations
by Steve Pleich
Thursday Dec 12th, 2013 12:08 PM
A Modest Proposal
Thanks in no small part to a recent post by Facebook page poster Kathy McCrae and made ever more urgent by the recent frigid weather, the community is mobilizing around the creation of “warming stations”. Such warming centers for the homeless in Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County could open during the overnight hours when temperatures drop drastically. Many have suggested that the Kaiser Permanente Arena and the newly renovated and reopened Vets Hall would be ideal locations for these centers. This is more than a “modest proposal" . This is a challenge to our humanity and compassion at a time when these qualities of mercy seem to be not only strained but in short supply.

Not so long ago, I passed by Messiah Lutheran Church located on the corner of Spring and High Streets and noticed that a large manger scene had been set up on their front lawn. I wondered what would happen is one or two of our unsheltered neighbors were to pause within that crèche to warm themselves on one of the many freezing nights ahead. Would they too, be told “there was no room at the inn” and asked to move along? Sadly, this is not only ironic in view of charitable nature of the season, in a larger sense it is a metaphor that reflects the community view of our unsheltered. At this time of year generosity and good will should guide our thoughts and actions. The creation of several warming centers is a modest proposal. But it is also a practical and humanitarian one and should be supported by all persons of good will in our community.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Robert Norse
Thursday Dec 12th, 2013 1:44 PM
...are always welcome, of course. After tonight's Keith McHenry presentation at the Resource Center for Non-Violence--where people are urged to bring warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, and perhaps a few placards, someone may suggest a nighttime excursion to research vacant usable buildings at night--which are plentiful in Santa Cruz. Dress warm.

Keith will also be speaking on the stream of Free Radio at 6 PM at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ . He did a great show last night on John Malkin's The Great Leap Forward, which will hopefully be replayed later this week. We'll also be hearing about the key L.A. court decision that has sent the Palo Alto NIMBY's into a panicky proposal to suspend their vehicle habitation law for a year.
by Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp
Thursday Dec 12th, 2013 2:19 PM

We were recently shocked to realize that our community doesn't have nearly enough shelter beds on the coldest of nights. Many people were caught out in sub-freezing weather.

We feel this is an easy problem to address.
Many communities have emergency Warming Centers for folks to go to when the weather drops
below freezing.

Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp is hosting a conversation and community planning session on this topic. There were many auditoriums, halls and large spaces sitting empty while people were
freezing. What can be done about this? Lets talk about it.

Conversation and Planning Meeting for a Warming Center Program
START DATE: Sunday December 15
TIME: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location Details:
535 Spring St. Santa Cruz
by ..like a fucking blanket
Friday Dec 13th, 2013 3:33 AM
not only is it against the law to use a blanket in the liberal town of Santa Cruz after 11pm, the pigs routinely confiscate and don't return the blankets of the homeless.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/07/08/18739525.php

it is too bad there are no city council candidates with the integrity to challenge this inhumane shit.
by John Cohen
Friday Dec 13th, 2013 6:58 AM
No City Council member is going to challenge "this shit". They're actively turning the screws on poor and homeless people. Why would they challenge the same policies and laws they created?

Don't underestimate the cruelty of each and every City Council member: does Lynn Robinson strike anyone as a compassionate person? Pamela Comstock? Hilary Bryant? Or Cynthia Mathews and David Terrazas?

The City Council is the head of the beast which is destroying Santa Cruz's soul by targeting marginalized groups for extreme punishment to make them invisible and eventually make it so hostile here that they're run out of town.

We're facing an human emergency: if compassionate citizens don't start acting to take back our town from cruel, hateful bigots then they will be complicit for the human catastrophe which will eventually ensue. No more time for excuses. No time for complacency.

We must become organized active citizens. We must fight for a just, democratic community.
by Robert Norse
Friday Dec 13th, 2013 8:01 AM

I think the previous poster is referring to City Council candidates--and specifically the author of the article--Steve Pleich. He ran for City Council in the last two elections and is running again for next year's.

While Steve has opposed the Sleeping Ban publicly for years (and presumably the Blanket and Camping Bans as well), he has never introduced specific resolutions at the ACLU, though he's sat on the Board of Directors there for nearly two years.

Initially folks at HUFF talked me down when I criticized Steve's silence. They suggested he was waiting for the "right moment" when it would be "politically possible", when he 'had enough sympathetic board members". He urged us all to join up and apply to put more such people in power.

Though Steve has gotten friends on the Board, significant and obvious homeless rights resolutions don't come out of the local ACLU Board of out of his mouth. See "Expose the Local ACLU: No Help for Homeless Rights" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/12/01/18747111.php and follow the links.

Peggy Lee Kennedy last night on my show (45 minutes into the audio file at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb131212.mp3) brought up the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the Cheyenne Desertrain v. City of Los Angeles‏ case which may have prompted the City of Palo Alto to propose delaying its "live in a vehicle, get fined or jailed" law for a year.

There were suggestions last night at the RCNV Keith McHenry talk of a Reoccupy.. I distributed this flyer. When I walked in the Xmas parade last Saturday with a sign made by Dennis Etler and gave away another "Don't Let Homeless People Freeze"-type mini-flyer, there was lots of sympathy...but no action.
by City of Palo Alto (posted by Norse)
Friday Dec 13th, 2013 8:07 AM
This recommendation doesn't mention the pending Injunction being prepared against the City by active attorneys there against the Vehicle Habitation Ban (http://huffsantacruz.org/wordpress/palo-alto-opposition-produces-results-legal-fightback-against-anti-homeless-bigotry/)

The staff recommendation is at http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/38189 .
by free the blankets
Friday Dec 13th, 2013 10:38 AM
norse is right john, i was teasing steve. brent is already working the compassion angle with sanctuary camp, but i am skeptical of how compassionate people are likely to be if it affects their home value. that's what destroyed the soul of santa cruz. gentrification. you don't hear a lot about over-the-hill commuters destroying our community by driving up rents, because the people harmed by them, the renters, were soon silenced by being forced out of town financially.
property is theft.
so there are few left here to organize who aren't on section 8 or leaving soon. on the other hand, if santa cruz could be turned into a real magnet for the homeless, and an influx of 60,000 squatting VOTERS arrived, we could see some real social change for the better around here.
i don't know of any activist in town that could pull that off though...


by Razer Ray
Friday Dec 13th, 2013 11:49 AM
consent_control_loop_-_povertypimp.jpg
consent_control_loop_-_po...

For a start, someone, preferably a GROUP OF Santa Cruz community COLLABORATORS should visit the Santa Cruz bus depot's lobby, bus station lobbies being traditional "Warming Centers", and remove that recently posted "No Loitering" sign, then forcefully request a not-particularly-polite meeting with the person who authorized it's posting.

But that's not ALL I have to say.

I always thought America leads the world in "shocks" (but not the ability to analyze the cause of the shock) as Gil Scott Heron exclaimed in B-Movie, but I was wrong. Brent Adam's Sanctuary Camp BUSINESS is leading the pack:

"We were recently shocked to realize that our community doesn't have nearly enough shelter beds on the coldest of nights..."

Only someone TRULY CLUELESS or not from the area (I suggest Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp INC take their LAME sales pitch down the road too...) could legitimately claim they were shocked by that.

COMMUNITY (ie. City/County IN CONJUNCTION with non-profits) action is the only acceptable way to create a city/countywide chain of warming areas. It IS a "Public Safety" issue, not JUST for the house-less, but for seniors, people with poor circulatory or respiratory problems and other medical conditions.

If Brent and friends want to ADVERTISE such a thing as SOLELY relating to the needs of the homeless (a monicker I reject as a convenient and well-known black box 'semantic meme' to scapegoat/claim concern for, encompassing a wide variety of people in a single word), I suggest they BUY space in the Senile or the weekly birdcage liners, considering their pitch IS an advertisement for a NON-COLLABORATIVE business owned and operated by them and PERHAPS (but not likely) their hand-selected residents, and has no place in the comments section of Indybay.

by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 16th, 2013 8:15 AM
...seemed to have lots of people willing to discuss the issue and propose specific locations. The expertise and resources there would likely yield a tent and a heater if all else fails. The only question is whether there's the will after that to take Direct Action while the authorities dither and dodge. That's often the question.
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 16th, 2013 12:23 PM
Today's Sentinel has a letter from Steve Pleich praising outgoing Mayor Hillary Bryant.

This is the "Happy Face" Hillary who presided over at least 6 anti-homeless ordinances & shamelessly trumpeted the deaths of two cops to push Take Back Santa Cruz's phony "Public Safety" agenda.

She also remained silent if not supportive of the police sweeps and destruction of homeless property.

I've found Pleich's letter in the hard-copy print edition, but it's not yet available on line.

Here it is on page A9 under the heading "Saluting Bryant":

"I had the great privilege of spending some considerable time with Mayor Bryant during the city council campaign in 2010. I found Hillary to be both serious on issues of crime and gang prevention and sensitive on social issues. But I did not now then, as I know now, that she possessed the kind of courage and strength of will that she has demonstrated during her time as our mayor. When our community needed that courage and strength most, she was there to console, to support, to encourage and to reassure us that the darkness would inevitably and surely be followed by the light. So I salute my friend and thank her for giving us not only her service, but her full self. Thank you, my friend. Steve Pleich, Santa Cruz."

Darkness and dark times indeed.

This is the ACLU Vice-chair, and the homeless champion who created the Homeless Legal Assistance Project.
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 16th, 2013 12:35 PM
...but to clarify the recent ideological lurches of the poster in case anyone be confused.

The issue is always independent of the individual. But for those who seek to lead, it's useful to know which direction they seem to be leading in.

Perhaps Steve has some helpful explanation? I've never been able to secure it for his failure to bring up relevant issues around his censorship of critics on his own website (specifically John Colby) or of his silence at the ACLU, even from a position of power on basic homeless rights issues.
I received my B.A. ('87) and my Ph.D. ('07) from UCSC in computer science.

However my career in computer science was derailed by TerraCorp Financial Inc., The John Stewart Company and the criminal residents of the Mission Gardens Section 8 apartment complex they used as tools to run me out for preventing the privatization of Mission Gardens, for advocating for the civil rights of other residents in protected classes, and for exposing their crimes, fraud, program abuse and political corruption (involving their connections to local politicians and local government officials).

Now I am an advocate for the poor, the elderly, the disabled and homeless people, as well as for Santa Cruz activists.

For example, I have filed numerous FOI requests to the City/County of Santa Cruz for records to further my advocacy for (disabled) homeless people I was representing and advocating for. I have also requested records about potential fraud and corruption by government officials, agencies and homeless service providers in the County of Santa Cruz. My most recent investigations showed the 180/180 project is a participant in a national campaign — http://100khomes.org/ — operated by a fraudulent charity which has misrepresented itself to government agencies, funders, and community partners. It operates under an assumed name "Community Solutions" falsely claiming the real names are alternatively "Common Ground" or at other times "Common Ground Community". Inspect their website:

http://cmtysolutions.org/about

I urge readers to follow the posts on my Facebook group linked to below where I post my FOI requests and links to GoogleDocs of the records I receive in response:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/OpenTransparentAccountableGovernment/

I offer my services as an experienced, effective FOI investigator to submit FOI requests on the behalf of Santa Cruz (homeless) activists. Most often I am able to obtain documents in electronic form, making my requests almost completely free.

I look forward to helping local activists in their struggle for social justice and economic equality.

In solidarity,
John E.. Colby, Ph.D. (UCSC computer science '07)

linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-colby/3/920/baa
twitter: @jecolbe
email: colby [at] docktorcat.com
phone: 831.419.1521

postal address:
849 Almar Avenue, Suite C242
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
by Razer Ray
Wednesday Dec 18th, 2013 11:04 AM
quote_techbro.jpg
quote_techbro.jpg

Susie Cagle @Wired pretty much sums up the kind of "Community" the city 'planning department', the property interests, and by extension, their TBSC political PAC would like to see. You can see them boarding the "Google Bus" every morning at the Santa Cruz Metro bus depot... The "No Loitering Allowed" bus depot. Who's ever heard of "No Loitering" at a fucking bus station?

These people really don't care if others with medical conditions like poor circulation/respiratory problems, the homeless, literally freeze to death.

A Guardian UK commentator has noted the trend of the "Haves", without a care, driving away the "Have-Nots" in San Francisco and other cities around the United States.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/11/google-bus-protest-hoax-haves-have-nots

The majority of Santa Cruz' city council hopes that happens here too. Expect no action on their part... Even the simplest ones like "Warming Centers".

So the options are slim. Beg the money as was done for the underutilized day laborer HQ in Capitola, or force the city to comply with basic human rights.

The tactic I suggest... 'domestic terrorism', according to the Department of Homeland Security which considers bus stations to be 'critical infrastructure' not even allowing photos to be taken of transit facilities... #OccupySantaCruzMetro, and if THAT isn't warm enough, or large enough to accommodate freezing Santa Cruz residents, #OccupySantaCruzCityHall
by Brent Adams (posted by Norse)
Thursday Dec 19th, 2013 9:44 AM

I recently received this flier about a further meeting of the "Warming Group".

I understand they are writing letters to various churches, organizations, and government agencies asking them to open those spaces on cold nights.

The real question we face, of course, is what if these letters are ignored or rejected? Freezing weather is coming up quickly.

Hopefully emergency preparations are also on someone's agenda.
by Robert Norse
Thursday Dec 19th, 2013 10:17 AM

Activist Dennis Etler, working with both HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) and the Warming Group, has advised me he'll be at the Homeless Memorial today. He says he'll be thanking the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center for opening its doors on a freezing evening recently and encouraging folks to gather on future freezing nights on the steps of the downtown Civic Auditorium to seek immediate solutions to prevent hypothermia and illness.

Here is his post on facebook:

I don't understand. Even as temperatures plummet and thousands of Santa Cruzans must face frigid nights unsheltered, there exists in downtown Santa Cruz the means to provide warm confines during this cold season. The new Golden State Warriors D-League covered/heated stadium near to the downtown area remains unused 95% of the year by the city, a city that at best.is capable of sheltering 10% of it's at-risk from the weather citizens under any circumstances (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/12/06/18747373.php). And the large vacant, the Rittenhouse Building, remains unutilized. Both could shelter large numbers of homeless during this supposedly compassionate and cold time of year. How can anybody march in tomorrow's Holiday parade and spread "good cheer" under such circumstances? Everybody, if you are marching tomorrow make it a March to House the Homeless. Carry a sign that says "House the Homeless Now."

I'm confused, again. Tomorrow the HSC holds it annual memorial service for people who died in 2013 while homeless. A notice was published in today's Sentinel which listed the HSC's website for further information. Unfortunately neither the HSC website nor their Facebook page had any reference to the Memorial Service. When I called earlier in the day to inquire about the event I was put on hold so the receptionist could ask about when the event was going to be held. She at first thought it was Friday. Not to disparage the HSC or nitpick, but doesn't this Memorial deserve more attention than it is getting?

Thanks must go to Sylvia Caras for alerting us to the fact that the Memorial Service scheduled for tomorrow, commemorating all those homeless individuals who died this year in Santa Cruz, is part of a national Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.
http://www.nhchc.org/resources/consumer/homeless-persons-memorial-day/


Brent Adams also posted this:

An ad hoc group calling themselves Residents for a Coldest Nights Warming Center has drafted a letter that it is now circulating to those who manage +20 large halls, auditoriums and huge rooms.

This group has been getting some traction with partner institutions and others. There are easily +2,000 people not being sheltered in the city.

This group is proposing a basic Warming Center Program that will eventually grow into a proper emergency system. When the temperature approaches freezing, the "alarm" will sound. HSC, SCPD, news orgs. etc. will all put the word out that the warming center is open for the night.

This is done in more than 100 cities and many are in nearby counties.


I passed out the attached flyer at the Farmer's Market yesterday. Now...if we can all get together...
by sentinel reader
Thursday Dec 19th, 2013 10:51 AM
The memorial is scheduled for 10:30

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/santacruz/ci_24745396/coast-lines-dec-18-2013-travel-forecast-up

by Brent Adams
Saturday Dec 21st, 2013 5:00 PM
Here is the letter drafted by Residents for a Coldest NIghts Warming Center:

To the Homeless Services Center, the City and County of Santa Cruz, churches, and other groups with large indoor spaces or other resources,

It was with deep sadness that many of us read the newspaper article about the homeless individual in San Jose freezing to death during the recent cold snap. Many of us waited anxiously to find out if some of our neighbors in Santa Cruz also perished due to lack of shelter on some of the coldest nights in town.

Despite outstanding local efforts, a recent study by Applied Survey Research found that among the more than 3,500 homeless individuals in Santa Cruz County, 82% of homeless residents in Santa Cruz County, and 69% in the City of Santa Cruz remain unsheltered.

On nights when the temperature plummets to extreme lows, such a lack of shelter can be deadly.

The most recent cold spell galvanized numerous blanket and coat drives, and we saw the Homeless Service Center and various churches opening all their available spaces. Despite these worthy efforts, many of us remain concerned that Santa Cruz City and County lack sufficient – and sufficiently well known and accessed -- warm spaces available to shelter our most vulnerable residents during the coldest nights of the year. We do not want to see what happened in San Jose repeated in Santa Cruz City or County.

We are therefore inviting your proactive participation to take the initiative, to help ensure greater safety from potentially life-threatening circumstances during the cold winter months. Many communities throughout the United States have what are commonly referred to as “warming centers.” A warming center is simply a space operated with the mission of preventing loss of life due to the elements. It is a physical location that provides heat and plumbing on the coldest nights. It is our hope that those with usable indoor spaces will move forward as quickly as possible to provide ad-hoc warming centers that can be put in place before the next cold spell. Longer term, we see the need for a more comprehensively organized program can be put in place to meet the needs of those who might otherwise freeze to death. We believe that this effort draws upon a broad humanitarian concern that unites our community.

Thank you so much for your consideration. We look forward to hearing your ideas and learning how we might support you in moving this effort forward.

Sincerely

Name withheld

Member of Residents for Coldest Nights Warming Centers (The Warming Group)
by Brent Adams
Saturday Jan 4th, 2014 12:17 AM

Advocating for the establishment of a Warming Center System that will ensure that hundreds of people will have a place to sleep on freezing nights.

Description
We are a group of concerned citizens calling ourselves Residents for Coldest Nights Warming Centers (The Warming Group), are calling on the Homeless Services Center, the City and County of Santa Cruz, churches, and other groups with large indoor spaces or other resources to come together to continue a conversation about how to create, maintain, and publicize warming centers where homeless people can get out of the elements when temperatures plummet to deadly lows, or when the weather is otherwise extreme.

We have been meeting since the deadly cold snap in early December and have begun this project in earnest. We've drawn up a list of possible Center locations and have begun to contact them. We need your help in this endeavor.

The most recent cold snap brought sad news of several homeless individuals in San Jose freezing to death. Many in Santa Cruz wondered if some of our homeless would die from lack of shelter on our coldest nights.

A recent study by Applied Survey Research found that among the more than 3,500 homeless individuals in Santa Cruz County, 82% of homeless residents in Santa Cruz County, and 69% in the City of Santa Cruz remain unsheltered. On nights when the temperature plummets to extreme lows, such a lack of shelter can be deadly.

The most recent cold spell galvanized numerous blanket and coat drives, and the Homeless Services Center and various churches opened all their available spaces to take in as many people as possible. However, The Warming Group remains concerned that Santa Cruz City and County lack sufficient (and sufficiently well-known and accessible) warm spaces available to shelter the homeless, especially on nights when the emergency shelter at the Armory is unavailable due to the National Guard schedule.

We invite everyone to participate. We need to take the initiative to help ensure greater safety from potentially life-threatening circumstances during the cold winter months. It is our hope that those with usable indoor spaces will move forward as quickly as possible to provide ad-hoc warming centers that can be put in place before the next cold spell. Longer term, we see the need for a more comprehensively organized program that can be put in place to meet the needs of those who might otherwise freeze to death.”

A warming center is simply a space operated with the mission of preventing loss of life due to the elements. It is a physical location that provides heat and plumbing on the coldest nights.

We believe that this effort draws upon a broad humanitarian concern that unites our community.
by The Warming Group
Wednesday Jan 22nd, 2014 3:54 PM

Here is the handout from last night's meeting.