[Hpn] LA CONVENTIONS - Homeless people & Democrats meet August 14-17 FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 25 May 2000 10:16:50 -0700 (PDT)

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CONTACT for National Homeless Convention Aug. 14- 17 in LA:
            Ted Hayes <HOMELESS@AOL.COM>
            Dome Village <http:/info+domevillage.org>
            (213) 892-9011
            847 Golden Avenue, Los Angeles, Ca, USA 90017

FWD  Reuters / May 15, 2000


     Michael Miller

LOS ANGELES, May 15 (Reuters) - This sprawling metropolis will tell a tale
of two cities when the Democrats come to town in August to anoint their
presumed presidential candidate, Al Gore.

While thousands of delegates and media people congregate and party at the
brand-new, multimillion-dollar Staples Centre sports and leisure complex in
downtown Los Angeles during the Democratic Party's National Convention from
Aug. 14 to 17, a few blocks and another world away the homeless of America
will gather for their own convention.

Billed as the first National Homeless Convention, the event is the
brainchild of activist Ted Hayes and is intended to spotlight the plight of
the homeless and the lack of government help for them.

It will take place at the Dome Village -- 18 fiberglass structures like
large igloos next to one of the several roaring freeways that crisscross
the city -- which Hayes established seven years ago as an exercise in
self-help for the homeless men and women of Los Angeles.

Hayes refuses to use the word ``shelter'' to describe the village. ``The
use of the word tends to separate the homeless from the rest of the
community,'' he said in an interview on Monday.

He has turned one of the domes into a ``Cyber Dome,'' complete with donated
computers, fax lines, printers and other equipment. The village has its own
Web site, <http:/info+domevillage.org>.


Hayes said he is looking for 1,000 delegates to attend the homeless
convention, though privately he admits that accommodating such a number is
practically impossible.

Nevertheless, he hopes that with an army of reporters and television crews
from around the world attending the Democratic Party Convention, they will
take time off to cover the homeless convention as well.

Los Angeles, he said, is the homeless capital of America, with about 80,000
people looking for somewhere to lay their heads on any given night. Mostly,
they sleep on the streets of Skid Row, just a block or two from the
affluence and skyscrapers of downtown.

The homeless convention, which will be attended by activists as well as
homeless people, will include panels of experts talking about the problems
of the homeless, the origins of their problems, law enforcement issues and
the adoption of a national homeless plan.

At the end of each day's activities, Hayes said, there will be a
candlelight vigil around Staples Centre and the adjacent convention centre.

Although Hayes blames globalization for creating homelessness, he said the
demonstrations would be peaceful, unlike ones last fall in Seattle, which
turned into riots, and last month in  Washington, where more than 1,000
protesters were arrested.


``Globalization is making the rich richer and the poor poorer, and the
political parties are helping this process by not doing anything to stop
it,'' Hayes said.

``The United States now has more money and resources than it ever had. Now
is the time to change things.''

He said the homeless were being ``criminalized'' by being forced out of the

``That flies in the face of the Constitution. This country was founded by
homeless people. For the United States to turn its back on them is
blasphemy and a betrayal of the founding fathers,'' he added.

Hayes said he had been assured by the authorities that there would be no
forcible attempt to move the homeless from the sidewalks and streets on
which they live, often in nothing more than large cardboard boxes, near
Staples Centre, but he is not convinced.

``The record in L.A. and other cities is that when the circus comes to
town, you move the homeless because you don't want them to be an
embarrassment,'' Hayes said.

His National Homeless Plan calls for the appointment of a Cabinet-level
official assigned to coordinate a national Commission on the Homeless that
would develop programmes and recommend legislation to get the homeless back
into the economy.


**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

8000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
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