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Mayor Don Lane opens conversation about Homeless Services Center and River St. Shelter
by John E. Colby
Yesterday morning, on June 18, 2012, Mayor Don Lane left me a voicemail inviting me to converse with him on issues I have about the Homeless Services Center (HSC) and the River Street Emergency Shelter (RSES). Because I deeply believe in open, transparent government which is held accountable for its actions or lack of action, I am opening this up as a public conversation with my email response to Mayor Lane's invitation for a (personal) conversation. I hope that Mayor Lane will not take offense, but rather will rise to the occasion by conversing with not just me, but all Santa Cruz citizens who have concerns about the HSC and the RSES, and about homelessness in general. Attached are photographs of wheelchair bound homeless individual Steve Lazow who I successfully advocated for to be reinstated at the Paul Lee Loft shelter at the HSC. Also attached are certificates authorizing me to represent/advocate for Mr. Lazow, and two other disabled homeless people who are staying at the Paul Lee Loft shelter at the HSC. Both of them, Ron Skinner and Megan Andrea Morgan, use walkers. I have also attached disability accommodation requests they made to the HSC and the RSES under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 (of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). I hope the unfolding story of these three disabled homeless individuals fighting for their civil rights opens up a fertile public conversation about disabled individuals who make up the majority of the chronically homeless in Santa Cruz County. I honestly hope that Mayor Lane will engage the public, not just me, in a conversation about these issues.

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