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community building | homelessness | police / legal

another homeless camp under threat

a homeless camp in se is under surveillence and threat by the local authorities.
homeless people in southeast have been pushed from place to place all summer. In the last few months many people from the area near St. Francis have found a refuge around the old Pierre's Bakery. The bakery has been closed for a while. Until the last few nights, police have driven by, engaged people in conversation, sometimes taking pictures, often honking a horn at 7-8 am to get people up and about but no arrests of requests to move on. In fact the a neighborhood office told some of the people that there had been no complaints about the camp.. Now however the manner has changed and people have been warned that they must go "somewhere else" or they are going to be cited, have their possessions impounded and receive tickets and a day in court.
when one woman asked what the officer thought the homeless people should do he responded with an elaborate plan that included getting a bank, labor ready and a businesses to find a campsite, offer jobs, and then have the bank handle their money so that the homeless peole could earn their way and save money too.! The officer clearly is not living in the real world. (does he know there are no jobs here even for people with few limitations?)
most of the people have been cleaning up after themselves, sweeping and picking up trash so that no sign of the camp is left during business hours. St. Francis staff has excluded people from the dining hall if they are not able to keep the place clean during the day becasue they want people to be "good neighbors." there are a few excluded people who will not cooperate with the group, but there are several people from among the campers who have worked hard in the past nine months as part of the neighborhood transition team that includes homeless people, neighbors, business people, and police. That group is continuing to work on solutions while at the same time some of the police are clearly on a different track.
One of the campers stated that they are trying hard to maintain the area because it is close to some of the only portable toilets in the southeast area. St. Francis has two portable toilets in St. Francis Park.
Maybe some of the peace camp people or other advocates can offer support.
Really, there is no place for these people to go.
screw them? 23.Sep.2003 22:06

michael

Seems to be the govenmental message. Cut funding to welfare, mental health resources, and affordable housing, then proclaim that those left out in the cold are "lazy" or "unmotivated". The world is shite.

Dont know 24.Sep.2003 00:39

Ray

I dont know enough about the whole situation but I was watching a doc about race tonite on PBS and the Mexicans are being smuggled up here by companies to work jobs that whites and blacks dont want. They have become the majority in many USA towns because of this and many of the whites are/have moving out. It occurred to me that this is what they mean by the "survival of the fittest". Here in Portland you see Mexicans standing in large groups not far from where this camp is every morning desperately trying to wave me down every time I pass in my cargo van. Citys that are too easy and welcoming on the homeless can very easily become a magnet for more nomadic homeless which is the situation San F is in. The homeless are everywhere begging and pissing in public. New York had the right idea, to prevent major crime (murder, rape etc) you have to clean up and stop the petty things. and it works. I know its easier said than done but homeless people should try to get the hell out of the PNW before winter. I met a 50 ish homeless guy last fall that had his shit together and he was on his way south like it was a regular thing for him.