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Indybay Feature
View other events for the week of 5/ 2/2017
Freedom Sleepers #94 - Sleep-out to end the sleeping ban
Date Tuesday May 02
Time 3:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location Details
Santa Cruz City Hall - 809 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorKeith McHenry
Emailkeith [at]

The City of Santa Cruz is considering a number of new policies that would impact local homeless people. Not only has there been an effort by a handful of property owners and their allies at City Hall to end the Food Not Bombs meals outside the downtown Post Office but there are also reports that officials may implement a number of new restrictions and architectural changes to make the lives of those without housing more painful.

Right now more than 20 people sleep out each night in protest to the sleeping ban. The Survival Sleepers as they are called started they're nightly protest when the Winter Shelter closed.

The city is also considering removing the benches outside the library and stationing two or more police officers at City Hall. Many homeless people sit on those benches both during the day and after the library is closed.

The Freedom Sleepers are seeking funds to station a portable toilet outside City Hall as part of the campaign to defend the rights of those living outside.

One unhoused person, Greg Mercado, died of complications from an old surgery at the corner of Church and Center Streets twelve hours after the police kicked him out from the City Hall grounds and gave him a ticket for being in a park after hours.

The City Manager of Santa Cruz appears to have powers outside the democratic process. City staff claim the complaints and new policies originate from the City Manager’s office. His office is seeking to generate complaints against the homeless and has been lobbying city employees to complain to their union to provide justification for these new measures. Thankfully many employees do not agree with his efforts.

Writing for the DOJ, Civil Rights Division Attorney Sharon Brett noted in the Statement of Interest in the case, Bell v. City of Boise, “When adequate shelter space exists, individuals have a choice about whether or not to sleep in public. However, when adequate shelter space does not exist, there is no meaningful distinction between the status of being homeless and the conduct of sleeping in public. Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

The Statement from the Department of Justice concluded: “Thus, criminalizing homelessness is both unconstitutional and misguided public policy, leading to worse outcomes for people who are homeless and for their communities. If the Court finds that it is impossible for homeless individuals to secure shelter space on some nights because no beds are available, no shelter meets their disability needs or they have exceeded the maximum stay limitations, then the Court should also find that enforcement of the ordinances under those circumstances criminalizes the status of being homeless and violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.”

Please sign and share our petition. We also invite you to join the Freedom Sleepers sleep-out Tuesday, May 2nd and participate in the Housing for All Protest on Tuesday, May 9th. The Freedom Sleepers ask you bring a blanket or sleeping bag to public comment at the City Council Chambers after the May 9th march from the County Building to the downtown Post Office anti-homeless fence ending at City Hall. Santa Cruz can end the sleeping ban and provide housing for all.
Added to the calendar on Monday May 1st, 2017 9:32 AM
§37 People Out Sleeping
by Freedom Sleepers Wednesday May 3rd, 2017 10:45 PM
There were at least 37 people protesting at Santa Cruz City Hall on the night of Tuesday, May 2 - 3, 2017 against the polices and practices carried out by the city and it's police of torture through sleep deprivation.
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
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Razer385Thursday Jun 15th, 2017 7:57 AM
Housing Breakfast!EyeTuesday May 9th, 2017 10:31 AM
Boise LetterInterested Saturday May 6th, 2017 1:27 PM
"Sleeping Ban"Razer RayFriday May 5th, 2017 9:39 AM
Re: "Razor Ray can't read!" AND "If you (as SCPD's PR!) person"Razer RayWednesday May 3rd, 2017 8:41 AM
Razor Ray can't read!Pat ColbyTuesday May 2nd, 2017 9:04 PM
Show us...Razer RayTuesday May 2nd, 2017 6:51 PM
Nighty videos document the nightly unnecessary sweepsPat ColbyMonday May 1st, 2017 7:24 PM
Interesting UpdateRobert NorseMonday May 1st, 2017 4:48 PM
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