moving along the homeless

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 20:14:03 -0800 (PST)


Catalina, your "report from the streets" below deserves wide circulation
and discussion.

If you are on Dee Southard's list, which has many providers, why not send
it to that list at <homeless@homeless@csf.colorado.edu>?

If you're on the Food Not Bombs list, you could post it to <fnb-l@tao.ca>.

For the other lists, you might want to add a little context -- for
instance, that you do outrech for a homeless-run center, and possibly that
you're formerly homeless.

I'm not in the least surprised the police asked you to move on, if they
thought you are homeless.

I don't like name tags, becuse they divide helper and helped, overseer nd
overseen, in my view.  But a name tag might get you better treatment.

What bugs me is police harrssment by profile, the assumptions they make
that you are homeless, and that therefore you deserve the jackboot.

Don't just serve, organize!  More later. -- Tom
__________
Imagine if you could, you are doing street outreach and you are in the
midts of training your new employee.  When out of blue walks up to you a
policemen, "move along now people, either in TA or hang elsewhere".
Well, I should tell you that TA stands for Traveler's Aid, the homeless
services place in our city. So, not wanting to offend the law, we move
to the corner across from where the shelter bus picks up to bring the
guests to the shelter.  To my dismay, there standing alongside thier
bikes are two policeman. Again, "move along" they told us, "go wait for
the bus across the street". At this point, I am beyond frustration and
my dandruff starts to get up.  I mumbled some incoherent words under my
breath and moved on toward the shelter bus pick up spot.  Well, we
handed out applications for the program to folks waiting for the bus and
gave out some referrals to folks new in town. We proceeded to walk back
toward TA. "Come on you people, I already told you to move along", I
really wanted to just sit there and not move, but I reluctantly moved
on.

So, this was my street outreach last Friday.  I spent more time being
frustrated by the police and having to move on then concentrating on
what I was there for!  Of course it never occured to me that they think
I might be one of them or you people. I am sooooo disgruntled.

Is anyone else experienceing this kind of sweep the homeless away
attitude?  If so what can be done to combat it? Any suggestions that I
can use and forward on to the outreach person?  Should we have to
identify who we are and what we are to the police so they do not think
we are one of those people? (I will never do this eep, why should I?
Maybe I am one of them!!)

Angry as a hornet,
Catalina
__________

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