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Indybay Feature
Fri Oct 20 2017
Direct Action in Support of Fresno's Homeless Community
House Keys, Not Handcuffs: Solidarity with Homeless in Fresno
About 200 people went to Fresno City Hall on September 29 to demand an end to the criminalization of the homeless, following the passing of a No Camping ordinance. The demand for house keys, not handcuffs, for the homeless was met by a large contingent of police who surrounded the protesters and threatened them with arrest. A statement issued about the purpose of the event stated that Fresno needs “a safe and legal place where homeless people can go 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Homeless people need a place to go and the same basic public services that everyone else in this city has — drinking water, a place to go to the bathroom and trash bins. In short, the homeless need to be treated with dignity and respect, because they are our brothers and sisters and in some cases our mothers, fathers or children.”

The statement continues, “But having a safe and legal place to go is not enough. After we establish enough safe and legal places that are available to the homeless, we need to start finding them permanent housing. We also need to provide the resources for whatever social services they need. That might include, but is not limited to, job training, education, recovery from drug or alcohol addiction and mental health services. Every situation is unique, but every homeless person can live a healthier and happier life if we pull together as a community and provide the resources needed to end homelessness.”

With only a handful of shelter beds available on any given night, the thousands of homeless people on the streets of Fresno simply do not have the option of going to a shelter. The No Camping ordinance effectively criminalizes the homeless for the act of sleeping.

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See Also: imc_audio.gif Talking about Homelessness in Fresno | Dispatches from the War Zone

Related Feature: What It Is Like to Be Homeless in Downtown Fresno
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