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Santa Cruz homeless shelter puts wheelchair bound man on the street for showering
John E. Colby
Within the last week I have become the representative and advocate for three different disabled homeless individuals — they all faced being forced onto the street or have been forced onto the street. Two, Ron Skinner and Megan Andrea Morgan, use walkers. They were told they could no longer access the River Street Emergency Shelter. This was later confirmed for one of them by a social worker. I called around the Homeless Service Center campus all day last Thursday, scrambling to find them beds. For them, being unhoused means eventually being a crime victim. Yesterday, one of them called me frantically because Steve Lazow — who is confined to a wheelchair — was evicted from the Paul Lee Loft shelter for another homeless resident assisting him take a shower. This volunteer good samaritan was also evicted from the shelter. This is a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 (of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and the federal Fair Housing Act. They were not given written explanations nor any appeal rights, denying them due process when being deprived of a federal benefit — the shelter receives federal money through a HUD block grant to the City of Santa Cruz. Now I am the representative and advocate for Mr. Lazow, advocating to gain him back the shelter wrongfully stolen from him. What kind of community puts people using walkers and wheelchairs on the street? This is undeniably cruel, abusive and uncompassionate. Will Mayor Don Lane show some compassion by remedying this abuse of justice and civil rights violations?

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