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Santa Cruz City Officials to evict Food Not Bombs, the Homeless Union COVID -19 Relief Center

by Keith McHenry (keith [at]
Santa Cruz City Officials to evict Food Not Bombs, the Homeless Union COVID -19 Relief Center, and sweep those without housing.
Santa Cruz City Officials to evict the Santa Cruz Homeless Union COVID - 19 Relief Center in the morning of the day we are holding an event to commemoration our 200th day of providing for the community during the pandemic and fires.

We shared this announcement with the media and public on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, and learned late Friday about the eviction. The city manager’s office never discusses any of our concerns with us to find out how this would impact our ability to meet the needs of those who depend on our food, drinking water, hand washing station, and clothing. The community knows to come to Front and Laurel Streets to help. We are one of the first places those who have lost their housing turn to for assistance.


DAY 200 at the Santa Cruz Homeless Union COVID-19 Relief Center
Tuesday, September 29, 2020, from 1 to 6 PM
At Laurel and Front Streets
310 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4502, United States

It is time for the people of Santa Cruz to prepare for the economic collapse.

Our 200th day will include music, food, and a discussion of how our community can prepare for the future. We will also honor the 200 days City Council Candidate Alicia Kuhl has been on the front lines helping those without housing. As a result, we feel we have first-hand knowledge of what we may be facing.

An eviction crisis could force hundreds of people to seek a place to live on our streets if we fail to organize to stop the displacement of our neighbors. Access to food, drinking water, and sanitation may be limited. Mental and physical health could be compromised for many as the conditions become more extreme. We are already scrambling to help the newly evicted and evacuated. Your help is needed.

The Santa Cruz Homeless Union and its president City Council Candidate Alicia Kuhl and Food Not Bombs have not missed one day since the pandemic started sharing food, drinking water, clothing, masks, and a reliable handwashing station for our community.

Santa Cruz Homeless Union and Food Not Bombs
Call 1-800-884-1136

Please email the city manager Martin Bernal to abandon their plans for this eviction.
mbernal [at]
§Flyer for Tuesday's event
by Keith McHenry
Letter handed out to the unhosed on Saturday morning
§The smoky day at the relief center
by Keith McHenry
A man who lost his home in Boulder Creek stopped on Sunday to say his car had been towed by the Santa Cruz police when he was staying in it on the West Side and has lost everything now. The fee to get the car out is $1,300. He wanted to know if there was a program that helped people get their vehicular homes out of tow. We don't know of any.
§Update from Keith
by Keith McHenry (posted by Norse) (keith [at]

Join us at 8 am Tuesday, September 29th at Laurel and Front Streets

A survival community has grown at the corners of Laurel and Front Streets offering safety and a means for the unhoused to access food, water, masks, clothing and information. We are set to hold a community conversation on Tuesday, September 29th to mark our 200th day of building this community.

The Friday afternoon announcement of an eviction that coincides with this celebration and conversation has the appearance of a city desperate to interfere with any effort by the
unhoused and poor of Santa Cruz to determine their own destiny. Breaking up this special community is heart breaking.

A fire evacuee from Boulder Creek who joined us on Sunday is typical of those who visit us. He lost the keys to his car and was not able to move it from it’s parking space on the West Side. While he was trying to replace his keys the city towed his vehicular home.

He needed $1,300 to retrieve his housing and the fee was increasing by $90 a day. He was forced by the city to find accommodations on the levee joining the many other people who are not able to access shelter. Like the many others who find themselves homeless our visible location at Front and Laurel streets is their first point of contact with services and knowledge about how to survive on the streets of our community.

So why is the eviction by the city of Food Not Bombs to the tiny lot across the street a problem? The space a quarter of the size of our regular Laurel and Front Street location and makes it more difficult for us to implement social distancing. News reports suggest the pandemic may spike this winter and social distancing will be as important as ever.

The number of those requiring our services is also sure to increase and this is why we chose the Laurel and Front Street location in the first place after our eviction from the Town Clock. Experts believe as many as 40 million Americans may be evicted this winter and we can expect an increase of thousands of unhoused people right here in Santa Cruz. Forcing us to move to a smaller lot as the numbers grow is misguided at this time in the national crisis.

As first entry into the world of the streets it is essential the newly unhoused be able to find us with ease. Many people in this condition have little access to electricity and cannot Google for help. Most are in a state of shock at their new condition and we provide not only direct service but emotional support because of the positive community we have fostered during the past 200 days.

We moved to this lot for a few days when the company planning to build luxury condominiums came to drill for soil samples so we have first hand experience at how difficult it is to make deliveries of food and equipment. For example the traffic turning right off Front on to Laurel can block access for as much a 10 minutes at a time.

We support the city’s accommodation of local restaurants to seat people outside on public streets but this eviction suggests a double standard where those who can afford to pay for food are accommodated while the concerns of those seeking to survive the economic collapse are disregarded.

The city is claiming they are giving us permission to move to this tiny lot across Front Street but to be clear Food Not Bombs has a global policy of never applying for or accepting permits. We do not require the permission of those who are not able or willing to provide for the needs of the community to respond to the crisis. They had their chance and failed.

We have over 40 years' experience of providing food and survival gear to those displaced by the economy. The city has refused to honor this important source of knowledge by consulting with us about how best to respond to the economic collapse. To ambush our program repeatedly by giving us late Friday afternoon threats is unacceptable.

We plan to continue our Tuesday, September 29th commemoration of our 200th day providing for the community at Laurel and Front Streets at 1 PM but we encourage the community to come to the corner to offer support for the people being driven into the shadows at 8 am. If you can camp out tonight in solidarity that is also welcomed.

We hope the city will cancel their eviction but if they do not we will move temporarily across Front Street and give a week's notice of our permanent location.

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Mon, Sep 28, 2020 7:14AM
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