[Hpn] Local Homeless Seek Recognition Of Need for Adequate Housing;Daily Californian

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Mon, 01 Oct 2001 09:37:40 -0400


Below is a forward of an article which may be of interest. Following that is 
information about the publication which the article appeared in. After that 
are Web addresses concerning certain entities mentioned in the article for 
those seeking additional information.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont

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-------Forwarded article-------

Monday, October 1, 2001
The Daily Californian <http://www.dailycal.org>
Independent Student Press
[Berkeley, California]
News
Local Homeless Seek Recognition Of Need for Adequate Housing
<http://www.dailycal.org/article.asp?id=6473>

Increased Shelter Access, Encampment Rights at Issue


By DANIEL LEE
Contributing Writer
Monday, October 1, 2001

A rickety, makeshift shelter stood on the concrete island at the 
intersection of Dwight Way and Telegraph Avenue.

Attached to the shelter's blue tarp was a cardboard sign saying, "PEACE 
CAMP" in big, bold letters. A smaller sign asked, "Where are we going to 
sleep?"

The question was on the lips of nearly two dozen homeless people who 
gathered Friday night to call for more shelters and city-endorsed camps.

Boona Cheema, executive director of Building Opportunities for Self 
Sufficiency, a homeless advocacy group, said that though Berkeley provides 
about 200 beds in shelters, these have so far been inadequate to fill the 
needs of the 350 to 500 homeless people she estimates sleep in Berkeley 
every night.

Cheema said the beds are provided on a first-come, first-served basis and 
can be reserved for up to 30 days. Those who are on waiting lists have no 
other options for shelter while they wait, except to sleep outdoors where it 
is often unsafe.

"As long as we're not able to provide enough shelter and housing for people, 
it's critical to understand that people need alternative, safe places to 
sleep," Cheema said.

But the city has been unwilling to consider encampments as a viable solution 
to the lack of adequate shelters in Berkeley.

Edith Monk-Hallberg, a member of the city's Homeless Commission, said that 
though she is not personally opposed to the idea of encampments, past 
homeless encampments, such as Rainbow Village in the late '70s and early 
'80s, got out of hand. Hallberg attributed their demise to the presence of 
drugs, alcohol and "outsiders and troublemakers."

The City Council in April directed Berkeley police to lower the priority of 
enforcement of a state law prohibiting sleeping in public areas.

Homeless people had lobbied for weeks that the law should be ignored and 
succeeded in convincing a majority of the council.

At Friday's impromptu encampment, Michael Diehl, a homeless advocate, made 
his way through the crowd, greeting passersby and talking with people as 
they settled in.

"This is all about being noticed," Diehl said. "It's not really a protest. 
It's just a place where people can gather and sleep safely for the night. 
It's all about the right to sleep without being harassed."

Strewn around the shelter were sleeping bags, cardboard boxes, backpacks, 
bicycles and shopping carts.

Underneath the shelter a middle-aged woman with long dirty hair strummed 
lightly on a guitar and hummed, while a younger couple sitting next to her 
scribbled into sketchbooks.

Others were dispersed among the benches and on the ground.

"As long as it's sort of organized, the merchants are fine with it," Diehl 
said of the camp. "It's better than having people sleeping out in front of 
their stores."

Yukon Hannibal, one of the homeless at the camp, made his way through the 
crowd with a bullhorn.

"We are all overwhelmed by the events of Sept. 11," Hannibal said. "But 
people still need to know that there are serious problems right here in 
Berkeley. They need to know that we exist."

As the sun set on the impromptu settlement, Hannibal urged the others 
gathered there to make sure they have a voice in decisions that affect them.

"We have no shelter," he said. "And we have no voice. Decisions are made 
without us, and once they are made, we are left with even fewer options. 
People don't respect our civil liberties."

---End of forwarded article---

~~~About The Daily Californian

The Daily Californian is an independent, student-run newspaper published by 
the Independent Berkeley Students Publishing Company, Inc. The newspaper 
serves the UC Berkeley campus and its surrounding community, publishing 
Monday through Friday during the academic year and twice a week during the 
summer. Established in 1871, The Daily Californian is one of the oldest 
newspapers on the West Coast and one of the oldest college newspapers in the 
country.

Contact: dailycal@dailycal.org

~~~Related Web addresses -- FYI:

Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS):
Ending poverty and homelessness in our community:

http://www.self-sufficiency.org


Berkeley Homeless Commission:

http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/commissions/homeless/default.htm

-- "Continues ongoing functions of monitoring and assisting in the City's 
progress in implementing needed homeless services and facilities.  
Appointments shall give consideration to representatives of the homeless."

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**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.**

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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA





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