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Police and Ranger Raid on Homeless In the Rain Reported

by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] )
Around 11 AM today, activist and car-dweller Jessica Nash reports that two vans of "Park Rangers" from Harvey West followed by 5 cars of SCPD in uniform pulled up on a dozen homeless people. They were sitting on the wall and under sheltering trees from the rain by the side of the sidewalk across from the Civic Auditorium today. The armed officers threatened to seize blankets, bikes, food, and belongings if the homeless didn't move out into the bad weather.
According to a phone report from Ms. Nash, the police told homeless people "get your stuff and get out or we're gonna bring a truck, load it up, and take it away." The rangers--already in trucks-- appeared ready to remove homeless survival gear. Some were there watching property for others. Everyone was threatened to force them to leave.

The police raid came upon homeless sharing food and sheltering themselves from the first winter storm. The threats to take their blankets, their bikes, their food, and their belongings frightened the homeless into silence.

This apparently was not enough. Ms. Nash reported that when she tried to help folks gather up their stuff, one cop began threatening her. "You've got a car? Well, get in it and leave. I can impound it right now--I'm so pissed off."

Nash reported the dialogue continued: "Don't make me inpound your car. You have expired tags. I'm sick of people not listening." Nash, with her sheltering car at stake, said she was forced to leave.

The "deportation and removal" action reportedly took about an hour. She noted rangers were also armed with tasers and guns.

Ms. Nash has sought legal help to deal with disability discrimination at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] at 115 Coral St. She claims she was repeatedly being denied services because of bedbugs she claims came from the still vermin-ridden Paul Lee Loft. She spoke before City Council on Tuesday about the wretched conditions and left in tears. Officials promised no action, claiming it was a County matter. However the City provides over $100,000 a year to the HLOSC and the HLOSC Board usually includes a Council member.

There is currently no walk-in shelter in Santa Cruz. Waiting lists for the HLOSC are either full or require a "pathway to housing" (i.e. a monthly check). The City Hall sidewalk is the site of a weekly Sleep-Out there by the Freedom Sleepers, now going into their 67th week next Tuesday.

Nash noted Mayor Cynthia Mathews had not returned her calls. Matthews--running for reelection--voted to continue to make the act of sleeping outside after 11 PM a crime costing several hundred dollars in fines, for which hundreds of citations have been issued in the last few years. Even the token 100-space Winter Shelter Armory is not slated to be funded and opened this year (with the homeless population at 1000-2000).
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John Cohen-Colby
Fri, Oct 14, 2016 10:12PM
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