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Indybay Feature
Unhoused of Santa Cruz Win Another Round in their Legal Struggle to Protect their Rights and Safety
by Keith McHenry
Wednesday Mar 31st, 2021 10:38 AM
On March 30, 2021, Federal Magistrate Susan van Keulen ruled against the City of Santa Cruz motion to vacate the injunction and ordered city officials to meet with the unhoused, the Santa Cruz Homeless Union and Food Not Bombs about the details of a new managed camp on the Benchlands.
sm_police_chief_andrew_mills_santa_cruz_san_lorenzo_park_homeless_camp.jpg
City Planning Director Lee Butler had announced a sweep of those living in San Lorenzo Park in December 2020, but the community joined with those living at the park in physically blocking the Holiday Evictions. The Santa Cruz Homeless Union, Food Not Bombs and the people sheltering in place at the park filed a restraining order that week halting the sweep because it was contrary to the CDC Covid-19 guidelines. Magistrate Susan van Keulen issued her first Temporary Restraining order stopping the planed eviction.

During the first phase of the eviction Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills said he didn’t care where people went as long as it they stayed twelve feet apart. The fact that the eviction was stopped and the city was forced to provide a camp for 122 people is a huge victory against a government that has a decades long history of disregarding the rights of those who are forced to live outside.

Santa Cruz is likely to experience a dramatic increase in the number of people becoming unhoused. The Santa Homeless Union and Food Not Bombs will continue to defend the rights of those living outside including those who agree to move to the managed camp on the Benchlands.

This victory shows that when the unhoused get organized they are able to defend themselves. This is a crucial step in the struggle towards the goal of everyone in Santa Cruz securing housing.

The Santa Cruz Homeless Union
831-431-7766

Food Not Bombs
1-800-884-1136
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We stopped the city from driving everyone into the doorways and roadsides but Judge’s April 1, 2021, order is still inhumane.

On March 30, 2021, Federal Magistrate Susan van Keulen ruled against the City of Santa Cruz motion to vacate the injunction and ordered city officials to meet with the unhoused, the Santa Cruz Homeless Union and Food Not Bombs about the details of a new managed camp on the Benchlands. This meeting has not yet been scheduled.

The unhoused of Santa Cruz won a small victory in their legal struggle forcing the city to set up a managed camp while blocking their plan to drive those sheltering in place at San Lorenzo Park in to the doorways and roadsides. But the Judge’s order also ignores the humanity and dignity of those who are forced to live outside treating adults as children that most be controlled.

While the ruling stalled the eviction, could provide tents and a placed to sleep for 122 people the city’s proposal dehumanizes those who cannot afford housing.

People are expected to move from one part of San Lorenzo to the Benchlands within 48 hours of being issued a permit. This permit could be revoked for even minor violations of a Code of Conduct. Much of this code is degrading. A number of the regulations maybe even be unconstitutional. Those evicted will be ordered to stay out of the park for 60 days. At this point the city has not agreed to any due process policy.

Santa Cruz is already experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of residents being forced on to its streets and is not prepared to welcome the hundreds of other local people who could find themselves homeless as the eviction tidal wave crashes across our community.

The Santa Homeless Union and Food Not Bombs will continue to defend the rights of those living outside including those who agree to move to the managed camp on the Benchlands.

This small victory shows that when the unhoused get organized they are able to defend themselves. This is a crucial step in the struggle towards the goal of everyone in Santa Cruz securing housing.

The judge will hold her next status conference in this case at 9:30 a.m., April 27 and is calling for both sides to file written status updates to the court by April 20.

The Santa Cruz Homeless Union meets Monday’s at 2 pm at Front and Laurel Streets. A response to this order and the city's inhumane "Temporary Outdoor Living Ordinance" are among the agenda items for this weeks meeting.

The Santa Cruz Homeless Union 831-431-7766

Food Not Bombs 1-800-884-1136
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Docs available...Robert NorseSaturday Apr 3rd, 2021 8:12 AM
Good news: court docs?indyradioWednesday Mar 31st, 2021 3:10 PM
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