[Hpn] Homeless Convention A Spectacular Success

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 12 Sep 2005 18:38:19 -0400

From: sandyperry@aol.com


(This e-mail is long and you should feel free to delete it if you do not
have the time and/or inclination to read it).

1)      Thank yous

2)      Mercury News article

3)      Convention resolutions.

San Jose's first Homeless Convention on September 9 was a rare and beautiful
expression of hope for the city's outcast poor. Over 200 homeless men,
women, and children and their supporters gathered in First Christian Church
to educate each other and the community, and determine a course of action to
secure their fundamental economic human rights to housing, health care,
education, and living wage jobs.

The Convention affirmed that every resident of San Jose, regardless of
wealth or material circumstances, is made in the image of God and infinitely
precious in his eyes.

The Bible teaches us that the last shall be first, and the stone the builder
rejected shall become the cornerstone. This Scripture began to be fulfilled
for all those who attended Friday's Convention.

Saturday's Mercury News article (pasted below) inaccurately claimed that
there were only "a handful" of community supporters present. A review of the
sheets revealed that in addition to the homeless, representatives
and/or staff members of the following community and social service
organizations were present:

Community Homeless Alliance Ministry

First Christian Church

Santa Clara County Collaborative on Affordable Housing and Homeless Issues

Low-Income Self-Help Center

Grace Community Center

South Bay Central Labor Council

Labor Party

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 428

SIREN/Comite Cesar Chavez

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Affordable Housing Network

Trinity Cathedral PACT

Silicon Valley De-Bug

Coalition for Justice and Accountability

Save San Jose Medical Center Coalition

Health Care for All Californians - Silicon Valley Coalition

St. Mary's Center (Oakland)


EHC Lifebuilders

Loaves and Fishes

Sacred Heart Community Services

Cupertino Community Services

Health Trust

Neighborhood Housing Services

Alliance for Community Care

San Jose State University Service Learning Center

Mental Health Advocacy Project
Bellarmine College Preparatory

Santa Clara University SCCAP

Unitarian Universalists of Sunnyvale

San Jose Friends Meeting

Tzu-chi Foundation

We apologize for anyone we may have missed or failed to identify. The
outpouring of community support was heartening to all who participated,
especially the homeless.

Two of our projected speakers, Christy Wong of Grace Community Center, and
John Moore of Horace Mann Neighborhood Association, were called away for
hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Representatives of the offices of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and State
Assemblywoman Sally Lieber were present.

Vice Mayor Ron Swegles of Sunnyvale was present. We apologize for
incorrectly stating at the Convention that he was absent. We had hoped that
he would serve on a panel to listen to and respond to testimony, but
apparently he had to leave before the panel was introduced.

Director Leslye Corsiglia, Mike Meyer, Vivian Frelix-Hart, and Homeless
Coordinator Ray Tovar of the San Jose Department of Housing attended.

In addition to Chief Rob Davis, Captain Ken Ferguson of the San Jose Police
Department was at the Convention from beginning to end.

Santa Clara County Homeless Concerns Coordinator Margaret Gregg was present.

San Jose State University sociology professor Scott Myers-Lipton attended.

We want to especially thank the following people for their assistance:

Joan Nunn and members of Los Gatos Methodist Church, for serving breakfast
for the Convention, as well as serving breakfast for the homeless every
Friday morning, year in, year out.

Gail Osmer and Lilianne Brannon of Tending the Flock, for serving lunch, as
well as their tireless volunteer service for the homeless for years.

Charles, Johnson, and all the De Anza International Student Volunteers, for
clean-up and for caring for the pre-school children.

Curly Elliot for translation, and PACT for providing equipment.

Caryn Brady and Perrin Brady for their steady support, and for organizing
the No Excuse for Homelessness Concert on September 2.

Sky Anderson and Pete Fullerton for unwavering moral and spiritual support.

Finally, we want to thank all the homeless who organized this Convention,
set it up, helped cook and serve, helped clean, went to meetings, spoke out,
wrote resolutions, testified, and organized their comrades to participate.
We salute you.

Posted on Sat, Sep. 10, 2005

City's first homeless convention airs issues


By Deborah Lohse

Mercury News

Advocates for Santa Clara County's 7,600-person homeless population Friday
hosted what they called the city's first homeless convention in a church
right behind San Jose City Hall.

The three-hour event, at First Christian Church at 80 S. Fifth St., was
attended by about 150 homeless people and a handful of community leaders,
including San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis, city housing director Leslye
Corsiglia and Carl Guardino, head of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

The event was organized by the Community Homeless Alliance Ministry partly
to air four resolutions drafted by homeless shelter residents requesting
additional services from the city or county for shelters or homeless people.
About 25 homeless people spoke about their plight during the meeting.

Among the requests by residents of four local shelters: reform of background
checks for prospective home renters to forbid discrimination for ``small
offenses in the distant past''; additional services at shelters, including
budgeting classes and more day care; and subsidies for bus tickets, rental
deposits and education.

Several in attendance who lingered after the meeting said the convention was
a morale boost, but added they were skeptical the resolutions would result
in tangible change.

``It gives us an idea of where we stand,'' said Lisa Landry, a 44-year-old
former floral design business owner who is facing homelessness after her
Sober Living Environment housing ends.

Ray Tovar, San Jose's homeless coordinator, who attended the convention with
several colleagues from the city's housing department, said there are no
plans to turn the resolutions into council proposals. ``It's informational,
and also gathering support for what they are proposing,'' said Tovar.

Many people, including Scott Wagers, pastor of the Homeless Alliance
Ministry, said it was hard to avoid the irony of homeless people gathering
next door to construction workers putting finishing touches on the brand new
$382 million City Hall complex. ``Look at that contrast,'' said Wagers,
pointing up at the new 18-floor City Hall office tower.

``It's an abomination of desolation,'' said 45-year-old Yisrael Foreman, who
is homeless.

Several of the homeless also said the publicity about people losing their
homes from Hurricane Katrina should shed light on their own needs, but it
hasn't seemed to do that so far.


Contact Deborah Lohse at dlohse@mercurynews.com or (408) 275-0140.


>From Residents of San Jose Family Shelter

Presented by Peter Mendiola

1)      Reform rental background checks to avoid disqualification for small
offenses in

the distant past.

2)      Make housing available such as Section 8, Shelter Plus Care, or
transitional housing for all who complete shelter programs

3)      Include budget management training and savings plans in all shelter

4)      Lower rents for low-income families in affordable housing, and
better assistance with deposit and first and last month's rent

5)      Affordable education program for low-income people

6)      Expand subsidized bus tickets for the homeless and all low-income

>From Members of Grace Community Center

Presented by Albert Mata

1)      We the members of Grace Community Center hereby commit to providing
a community of people who will be a voice for those who are in greater need
than we are. We extend the hand of fellowship to all.

2)      We the members of Grace Community Center hereby declare that the
local, State, and Federal government take notice of San Jose's lack of
low-income housing and provide housing and basic sustenance for all of our
very poorest citizens.

>From Residents of InnVision

Presented by Rose Diaz

1)      More affordable housing for families and single people.

2)      Reduce rents to the Federal definition of affordable, 30% of income.

3)      More resources for shelters, day care, and education.

4)      More day care at work sites.

5)      More contact with God.

6)      Don't give up.

>From Community Homeless Alliance Ministry

Presented by Vanessa Martinez

WHEREAS a person who does not have a job, an income, or a home has neither
life, nor liberty, nor the possibility of the pursuit of happiness,

WHEREAS housing, health care, and education are God-given human rights
promised by Scripture and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

WHEREAS the hurricane catastrophe in New Orleans is a warning and a wake up
call for all of us who fail to take care of the least of our brothers and

WHEREAS the homelessness of millions of Americans every night, including
children, is an ongoing national disgrace and national disaster comparable
to Hurricane Katrina,

WHEREAS the presence of 7646 homeless men, women, and children in Santa
Clara County in one night is an affront to God and a violation of our
economic human rights by local, State, and Federal governments, and

WHEREAS Martin Luther King, Jr. called for the total, direct, and immediate
abolition of poverty,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT we cannot afford to wait ten years to end
homelessness but should make immediate plans to do so now at every level of
government, that we carry over and continue the national mobilization to aid
hurricane victims until every homeless American is placed in decent,
affordable housing, and that this Convention establish an ongoing campaign
organization and steering committee of homeless representatives to ensure
that this is carried out.