First they Came for the Homeless

Last I heard, the Dwight shelter had cut down the beds they offer by half. Berkeley doesn’t seem to be able to run the homeless programs with any efficiency. Only the lucky few get a bed and they are expected to behave obediently without complaint as charity should.

It would be so much easier and a quick-fix to just let the homeless camp in aquatic park or some place else.  They aren’t going anywhere now that’s more out of sight.

Jenna Lyons | on November 17, 2016

Before dawn Thursday, Mike Lee left his encampment at Allston Way and Milvia Street in Berkeley to get coffee at a nearby gas station.

When he returned, he found out that he’d lost everything he had except the clothes on his back. All of his personal belongings at the encampment, including his extra clothes, shoes and blanket, had been seized.

Lee said he’s been homeless for the past two years, but a traveling tent community has become his makeshift home, where he sleeps, eats, and protests Berkeley’s homeless policies with homeless activists.

who is also with Veterans for Peace tells Berkeley Police Officers his opinion about them outside of the US Postal Office on Allston Way after Berkeley PD removed the camp earlier in the morning from their spot across the street and then came back to tell the group they could not block the sidewalk outside of the Postal Office Nov. 17, 2016 in downtown Berkeley, Calif. The group of homeless were moved by the Berkeley Police Department from the lawn where they had been camping outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center early on Thursday morning. The encampment, which calls itself “First they Came for the Homeless” has been protesting the Berkeley food and housing project for weeks.
Berkeley police officers shooed the group of about 20 homeless people .

“I have a heart condition, and I’m 61 years old with no blanket this morning,” Lee said Thursday between sniffles. “We have 30 police officers here evicting homeless people instead of getting bad guys.”

Some of Berkeley’s homeless said they were missing more than blankets, claiming their laptops had been confiscated by authorities.

Those in the group took the belongings they still had and set up less than a block away on the steps of the Berkeley Post Office, once the site of its own homeless encampment that lasted nearly two years.

By 9 a.m., postal service officers were on scene telling them they had to move their property off of the steps.

They relocated their heap of property — ranging from tents and backpacks to a bottle of vanilla Coke and a pet rat ironically named Cat — about 5 feet away from the steps of the office.

By 10 a.m., Berkeley police officers told them once again they had to leave.

The group had been holding a mobile protest, setting up camp communities in the city as they advocate for their own tent city. They had three demands: a legal campsite where homeless people can pitch tents, an ending of criminalization of the homelessness and more affordable housing.

It was the seventh time they’d been evicted from a spot in two months, Lee said.

Evictions reached a boiling point on Nov. 4, when District 2 City Council candidate Nanci Armstrong-Temple was arrested at one of their former spots at Adeline and Fairview streets.

The district attorney’s office later decided not to file charges against Armstrong-Temple.

The last official count of Berkeley’s homeless population, taken in January 2015 by the Alameda County organization EveryOne Home, tallied 834 homeless individuals, although some suspect the number is closer to 1,000. Of those in the count, 266 were sheltered and 568 were unsheltered, city officials said.

 

 

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