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Dated Updates on the Current Homeless Crisis

by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at]
Some things are changing quickly. Others (sadly) not at all--such as the City's failure to provide the most elementary sanitary services such as porapotties, washing stations, and bathrooms (many of them now shutting down). The following e-mail I sent out as a replacement for my usual Wednesday HUFF meeting yesterday. Audio updates will be posted between times at .
Since Sunday evening March 15th , Food Not Bombs, HUFF, the Santa Cruz Homeless Union and others have supplied volunteers, food, and supplies for distribution to the community--particularly folks outside without safe reliable shelter. Hats off to Lucero Luna, Keith, Kevin, Elise, Fish, and many others who have sustained this effort.

We'll be gathering, some of us by phone, at the Town Clock at noon today to assist the on-going survival supplies center.

Please observe 6' separation. Gloves and masks will be available for food distribution workers.


*** Check at to hear a series of phoned-in reports from different activists and workers--which should be posted shortly and will be updated daily if possible.
*** City Manager Martin Bernal has not yet met concerns the City has closed and ordered closed places supplying toilet and hand-washing access in spite of the emergency situation and repeated calls and e-mails. Nor has the County acted to provide basic sanitary facilities for the poorest outside, though it has financial and organization resources to do so.
*** City agencies have thwarted or denied Food Not Bombs, the Depot Project, Bagels on Bikes, HUFF, and other organizations their attempts to establish such vital resources.
*** Recent shutdowns at the Library, Louden Nelson, the Metro, the publicly sponsored Bookshop Santa Cruz, closed restaurants and businesses make this situation ever more dangerous both for folks outside and the broader community.
*** No motel or hotel rooms are yet available for the 1000-2000 homeless outside who want and may need them to shelter more safely and securely in spite of government directives and financial grants.
*** The inadequate "normal" charitable activities of those working with churches, social services, etc. have been cut back or closed--many of the staff of these organizations are over 60 and particularly vulnerable to the corona virus.
*** Normal donations to those directly seeking survival money through "panhandling" have been discouraged or criminalized under the new emergency regs, enacted without public discussion or vote.
*** Public transportation options have been restricted or shut down, making access to what limited resources there are even more problematic.
*** Mayor Cummings has issued no calls for an emergency Council meeting to pass elementary measures already done in other cities like a moratorium on evictions and rents.
*** City Manager Martin Bernal & the City Council majority have a long history of resisting the expansion of basic services for the less privileged in town.
*** Supervisor Coonerty and the Board of Supervisors have declined to provide county-wide resources in an equitable and sensible fashion.
*** The health of the community depends on our community action through a direct and united response.
*** Up to now we have seen how "concerned" and "effective" local authorities have been in meeting the needs of renters and those outside.
*** Meekly following the dictates of authority in this crisis has not in the past, nor likely in the future, to be a wise, health-providing, and productive course.
*** We must confront directly, clearly, persistently, loudly and immediately to secure the basic survival needs of the community in the current crisis.
*** With washed hands and care to keep physical distance, bring food and yourselves to the noon food serving to sustain the survival effort and take the necessary future steps.

Contact Food Not Bombs (575-770-3377), HUFF (831-423-4833), or the Santa Cruz Homeless Union (831-431-7766) if unable to come for health or other reasons. (454-2200) and you wish to help.

Check for recent audio interviews and reports from the street under Plague Reports.

The twice-weekly Bathrebespierre's Broadsides show also archived at will feature ongoing commentary and news-ish updates Thursdays 6-8 PM and Sundays 9:30 AM to 3 PM on the stream of Free Radio Santa Cruz at .

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