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Indybay Feature

Four Flyers For Homeless Self-Defense

by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at]
The flyers are largely self-explanatory and suggest a number of avenues for self-defense for homeless people in Santa Cruz. Now that even the much-criticized and fractional Armory Winter Shelter program has ended. homeless people face not only police harassment during the day in parks, on the beaches, and downtown, but also at night under the city's Sleeping Ban and possibly the state code 647e. HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meets Wednesday at the regular time to continue discussing immediate survival camp prospects, copwatch, and thugwatch.
Recent confrontations between homeless groups and individuals in groups reportedly identifying themselves as "East Siders", where the latter have assaulted, beaten, and maced the former make the need for homeless people to band together particularly important. Also important is the need to document encounters both for later community education, but also for immediate self-defense. "You're being filmed" can be an important deterent, especially if the signal is being uploaded in real time. Both against police misconduct and vigilante violence.

Community members are invited to help homeless people plan self-defensive strategies at the Sub Rosa Cafe 10 AM Wednesday April 17 at 703 Pacific.

I wrote the "Fight Vigilante and Police Violence" as well as the shorter "Get a Receipt" flyer.

The "Arm the Homeless" flyer was written by a Homes Not Jails member.

The information sheet is provided courtesy of WRAP (Western Regional Advocacy Project).
Download and distribute. If you need moral support, some of us may be going out to the Homeless Lack of Services Center Wednesday around noon to help those sign up on the waiting list.
§Against the Beatings and the Bullshit...
by Robert Norse
Time to Bring Back Santa Cruz--the Santa Cruz that will respect human rights for all!
§Fact Sheet on Anti-Homeless Laws
by Robert Norse
See our own anti-homeless laws at ("Deadly Downtown Ordinances--Updated").
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by Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp
It is important to distinguish a Sanctuary Camp from a Protest Camp.

A Protest Camp: seeks to call attention to the illegality of a situation ( in this case the sleeping ban ) and puts campers in direct contact with law enforcement. A Protest Camp is usually inflicted AT a community and space is "taken" or "occupied."

A Sanctuary Camp: exists with the tacit support of the community. It benefits everyone inside and outside the camp by providing a safe place to be, sleep and keep personal items. Often land and/or other elements of the camp are made possible by creating relationship with citizen groups or the city government.

Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp is excited to begin this conversation with our community. All over the country Sanctuary Camps are proving that neighborhoods are safer and homeless begin to heal their situations with these models. Join in the conversation.

Everyone agrees that the problems facing our community around homelessness are unacceptable.

We've seen our natural areas fouled and our communities are inundated with homeless folks with no place to sleep at night. Firstly, it is important to establish that it is illegal to sleep outside after 11pm in Santa Cruz. On April 6th, what little shelter there is will be closing and we'll be seeing an increase to some of the problems we're already seeing. To make matters worse, the 30 bed shelter at the Homeless Services Center has been closed indefinitely to the general homeless population.

We hear that Santa Cruz County spends $2,000,000 dealing with the various aspects of homelessness each year and yet more than 90% of those folks are forced to sleep outside in our community each night. Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp is an evidence based smart solution to this growing problem.

We're seeing that Sanctuary Camps across the country are proving successful. For pennies on the dollar, they provide a safe place to sleep and keep personal belongings during the daytime. This year we've seen our natural areas fouled by garbage, syringes and excrement. There have been fire hazards in the woods. People often sleep in doorways and under bushes of our residential, business and tourist areas.
Homeless people often fall prey to folks who steal from and abuse them.

Homeless people have lost their property (bedding, medications, personal effects) during the homeless sweeps that took place in our county's wooded areas. The SCPD took officers from other patrols for more than 3 months last summer ticketing more than 300 people with no measurable effect other than to make life infinitely harder on folks already struggling to survive.

The daily struggle to clean oneself, keep clothes, bedding and personal belongings clean and safe, show up in time for food service or to acquire food and basic necessities and to find a safe place to sleep can be an all day task. Add to this the problems of mental illness, addiction, trauma etc. and we begin to see that the patterns of homelessness are quite difficult to escape. The basic illegality of homelessness and the scorn of the community makes this situation impossible.

We're excited to share a new solution with our community. We've seen examples all over the country that communities are safer and cleaner and homeless people are better able to move up and out of homelessness with the Sanctuary Camp model.

Please invite us to make a presentation to you, your group or organization about how we can improve life for everyone by simply providing a safe place for people to be. There are many possibilities within this one concept and we'd like to share them with you.
by Razer Ray
"Recent confrontations between homeless groups and individuals in groups reportedly identifying themselves as "East Siders"..."

There was a stoned-stupid deranged girl at the drum circle a couple of weeks ago who tried to get in fights with the people on the perimeter, shouting EASTSIDE EASTSIDE and flashing hand signs as everyone just stared at her like she was stupid. The police came and took her away.

Sometimes it's just that simple.

As far as the plural 'attacks'. I know ONE PERSON, with a bad attitude to almost everyone, got attacked twice. I can only IMAGINE the convo that got him into those brawls and needless to say there's likely to be culpability all the way around that "Circle of Stupid".

Just sayin' Robert. Much like the 'security' at OSC, if you're looking to recruit vigilantes, all you'll get are unmanagable drunken scumbuckets who ARE part of the problem.
by Peacemaker
that that each of us is in need of the love and support of the rest of our community. Where are we? We find ourselves isolated behind walls and doors, if we have them, or behind feelings of alienation and exclusion, no matter whether we live outdoors or are sheltered.

The pain of isolation fuels the backlash, whatever quarter it comes from--right, left, north, south, east, west. I hope all of us within our community can find the courage to reach out across the boundaries that have been artificially created by the class that wishes to oppress us all, open our hearts and listen to the needs of others, and find what we can do individually, as families or small groups of neighbors, or collectively united with the entire community. Sometimes as we strive we will fail, but with each other's support all of us can go further than we can alone.
I was reading an article the GoodTimes of SC had For a local media account it's a reasonably well balanced summary of various forces and perception and history of crime in Santa Cruz.

In the article, Pamela Comstock, SC Councilwoman and TBSC co-founder shared her vision of the cause and solution to reducing crime in SC.

The cause? Too many liberals and liberal ideas in Santa Cruz. The solution? Deny homeless people services if they are arrested or EVEN CITED for an infraction.

That's right, from the article:
Comstock suggests a solution: create a contract that stipulates that if a person is accessing homeless services in the city, they must agree to not get arrested or cited for infractions. If they fail to abide by the terms, then they will no longer be eligible for the services. “This would change the perception that Santa Cruz is a haven for the homeless and that 'homeless' equals 'criminal,'” she says.

For a group, Take Back Santa Cruz TBSC that claims not to be against the homeless, I don't know how much more anti-homeless you can get than Pamela Comstock's so-called solution.

Since it's illegal to sleep in SC after 11pm and there are no shelters open (sans 20 beds) then any homeless person would risk losing access to ANY homeless services if they were merely cited by the police for basically being homeless.

That's just priceless and of course the TBSC mob will probably mobilize with torches and pitchforks in support of such a plan even though it means that without even the benefit of a trial or hearing Pamela Comstock and TBSC wants homeless people to be stripped of any rights and services.
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