Santa Cruz IMC
Santa Cruz IMC
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Community Sleep-ins Continue at Santa Cruz City Hall

by Alex Darocy (alex [at]
Community members protesting local laws that criminalize homelessness held their third group campout at Santa Cruz City Hall on July 26. Several dozen people slept in the City Hall courtyard from sunset until the following morning, when they were greeted with a large buffet-style breakfast served by a fresh-faced group. Organizers have more sleep-ins planned for the future, with the next confirmed for Sunday, August 2, again at Santa Cruz City Hall.
The July 26 sleep-in was preceded by campouts held on July 4 and July 19, which were organized after the Homeless Services Center (HSC) announced in June it was having severe budget issues and would be losing a significant amount of state-administered federal funding. As a wide variety of day services were being discontinued, a coalition of homeless rights groups joined together to host a series of free breakfasts next to the center. The City Hall campouts were the next step in the response, and are now focused on the broader issues surrounding the criminalization of homelessness.

Participation at the community campouts is an act of civil disobedience because it involves the violation of multiple local ordinances that outlaw sleeping in public.

For one, the court yard at City Hall is closed to the public between the hours of 10pm and 6am, however the primary ordinance in the Santa Cruz municipal code focused on at the protests has been the camping/sleep ban. The camping ban prohibits sleeping in public with or without setting up bedding in the City of Santa Cruz between the hours of 11pm and 8:30am, and the ordinance also criminalizes sleeping in cars.

On July 26, protesters slept at City Hall in a variety of manners.

Some slept on the court yard's lawn and some slept on the sidewalk. Some slept in tents, some slept out in the open in sleeping bags, and some used blankets on top of tarps. Some sat in chairs and slept with blankets draped over their bodies. One person used no bedding at all as she lay on the rock wall that surrounds the City Hall courtyard. At least one person slept in an automobile.

Some of those who slept during the protest had houses of their own. Some were homeless.

In the morning, many people expressed that they had received a good night's sleep.

The two previous sleep-ins at City Hall were subject to visits by large groups of officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department, who attempted to disperse the protests on both occasions by issuing citations to those who would not leave City Hall.

There were no attempts by police, however, to break up the campout on July 26, which was most likely due to the large police response that was required by the community tragedy that had begun to unfold earlier in the day when eight-year-old Madyson Jordan Middleton was reported missing in downtown Santa Cruz. Printed flyers with missing person information made their way to City Hall, and the community campout group posted one on the van they rented to store food and supplies.

One individual who said he was homeless arrived at City Hall at 2am to sleep at the campout. He described how he had spent the entire evening searching near the San Lorenzo River and other locations for the missing girl. He said that because he had spent so much time being homeless downtown, he was very well acquainted with the area. He was very distraught he had to end his search early due to the fact he had nowhere to store his personal belongings. He had been carrying all of his possessions for hours by hand in a folded tarp as he searched for Madyson.

After talking about the search for the missing girl for some time, he eventually moved to a location in the City Hall court yard where he slept for a few hours until daylight when the sound of rising campers woke him up.

For more information about the Community Sleepouts, see:

Community Sleepout

Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
§In front of City Hall
by Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
§Steve Pleich of the Homeless Persons Legal Assistance Project
by Alex Darocy
§Breakfast was served at 7am
by Alex Darocy
§A march was held downtown before the sleep-in
by Alex Darocy
§Rabbi Philip Posner
by Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy
Add Your Comments
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
Tue, Aug 4, 2015 9:05PM
Truman Show
Mon, Aug 3, 2015 8:29AM
Robert Norse
Sat, Aug 1, 2015 10:05AM
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$140.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network