HOUSE THE BAY
We support the right to housing for all people and the right to shelter in place during the global pandemic.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / Monday, 10/19
Needa Bee, (510) 355-7010
Ellie: (510) 926-9044
Twitter: @HouseTheBay (Formerly @ReclaimSF)
Coalition of Bay Area organizations comes together to reject Oakland’s new Encampment Management Policy
On Tuesday, October 20, the Coalition to Stop the Encampment Management Policy is planning a day of action against the City of Oakland’s proposed legislation. Organizers say that this policy, if passed, will effectively ban encampments, tents, and RVs in 98% of the city while offering no pathways to housing. This violates the CDC’s recommendation to halt encampment sweeps during the COVID-19 pandemic and ignores the only solution to homelessness: permanent housing.
“This policy is based on neither compassion nor humanity despite the city’s crafted sound-bytes. If passed this policy will legitimize the practices the city claims it does not engage in: an approach rooted in criminalization of an already criminalized population that ends in massive evictions, unnecessary brutality and trauma,” said Needa Bee, unhoused founder of The Village in Oakland. “None of the city’s plans addressing homelessness actually get people out of homelessness.”
The new policy proposal is informed by a survey conducted by Council member Taylor’s office, but activists claim the survey was exclusionary: only 14% of responses came from people who have experienced housing insecurity or homelessness, and 60% of respondents were homeowners.
This policy reflects the staggering bias in survey population, and will serve to formalize the City’s harassment of unhoused residents. This policy will invest further in policing unhoused residents, increasing criminalization of a population that is disproportionately Black and brown–70% of Oakland’s homeless residents are Black, yet Black people made up 28% of Oakland’s 2010 census population.
Oakland City Council will be voting on the Encampment Management Policy on October 20th. In response, the Coalition to Stop the EMP is holding a day of action: encouraging Oakland residents to speak out against the policy during public comment. Opponents of this policy are encouraged to text “HOMESNOW” to 797979 for more information about logistics and action specifics.
The Coalition to Stop the EMP is comprised of The Village Oakland, Love and Justice in the Streets, West Oakland Punks with Lunch, House the Bay, East Oakland Burrito Roll, Just Cities, ACCE, 37MLK, Right to Housing Committee, Homeless Action Center, East Oakland Collective, TANC, Artists Building Communities, Berkeley Free Clinic, the National Harm Reduction Coalition, SMC Tenants Council, HOMIES Empowerment, 77th Street Rangers, Mosser Tenants Union, and JDW Tenants Union.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / Saturday, 8/22
Ben Rosen, (510) 854-0714
Jiffy Phan, (510) 621-7335
Twitter: @HouseTheBay (Formerly @ReclaimSF)
HOUSING NOT BARRICADES!
Socially Distanced Rally & March (+ Car Caravan)
Saturday 8/22, 3pm, Turk & Leavenworth, SF
Activists demand UC Hastings, City of San Francisco remove barricades around encampments and offer safe and permanent housing for unhoused people
In light of the recent lawsuit settlement between UC Hastings College of the Law and the City and County of San Francisco, community organizations and Tenderloin residents will march and rally against the use of barricades and the ongoing sweeps of unhoused neighbors in the Tenderloin. On August 22nd members of House the Bay will be joined by Coalition on Homelessness, Senior and Disability Action, SF Rising and others in a march decrying the practice of pushing unhoused people from block to block, especially during a pandemic.
“It is unacceptable for the City to continue conducting these illegal encampment sweeps in the midst of a pandemic,”
said Ari Cowan of House the Bay.
“We are calling out UC Hastings for their lawsuit and the City for settling, especially without providing adequate and legally mandated shelter options.”
UC Hastings filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco demanding that tents in the Tenderloin be removed, while offering no viable shelter to the neighborhood’s most vulnerable residents. Advocacy organizations in the Tenderloin signed on to a letter and demonstrated their opposition to the lawsuit to no avail. Now placements in Shelter-In-Place hotels have effectively stopped, the shelter waitlist is closed, and thousands are left sleeping on the streets with nowhere to go.
The City has responded to the housing crisis with barricades while refusing to move our most vulnerable community members into safe housing. Barricades, policing, and sweeps are not a solution, they are just further criminalization of Black, brown, and disabled homeless people. We demand an immediate moratorium on encampment sweeps, full implementation of Prop C: Our City Our Home, and abolition of the police.
“If the City won’t provide housing to our unhoused neighbors, it’s up to us to do it ourselves.”
Housing Not Barricades! Housekeys Not Handcuffs! Solutions Not Sweeps!
WE CAN’T WAIT
Update from HOUSE THE BAY
San Francisco, CA – On May 1st two homeless women moved into an investment property that sat vacant for years and turned it into a home. But police forced Couper Orona and Jess Gonzalez to leave their new home just hours after they moved in, despite an outpouring of support from community members and some of their new neighbors.
Hundreds of people in vehicles welcomed the women while dozens chanted and played instruments. A neighbor from down the street walked over with two bottles of wine and a bouquet of flowers as music blasted through a community radio channel.
“This is one out of 4000 units we were promised when we voted yes on Prop C. Today we took one, we have 3999 to go,”
said Quiver Watts of House the Bay when interviewed at the protest.
“Mayor Breed, it is unconscionable for you to be leaving people on the streets. Not only during a pandemic, but anyday. Use your emergency powers to move people not just into hotels, but also into secure and permanent housing.”
The crowd was met with lines of police wearing face masks printed with the racist “Blue Lives Matter” flag. They prevented the media from accessing the block and violently arrested one protestor, later to release her with a citation.
“This is how Mayor London Breed’s San Francisco responds to homeless women trying to take shelter during a global pandemic. In a city with more vacant houses than homeless people, we need to move people into safe and secure housing. We can’t wait another day,”
said Ari Cowan, one of the community advocates in the house that day.
Couper Orona, one of the women forced to leave, stated:
“Whether you live in a house or you live in the streets, we’re all San Francisco residents. I want our city leaders to pay attention. We’re people. We’re human. We need homes. We need a safe and stable place to be so we can feel like we belong again in our city. I love my city and I want my city to be the best. And I want my city to thrive. But you gotta have heart and guts. And that’s what we need our mayor to do. London Breed, get some guts, get your sh*t together.”
Mayor Breed has refused to implement Prop C, and she has refused repeated calls from our community to use her emergency powers to open vacant houses and hotel rooms to our unhoused neighbors. We can’t wait another day.
Two Homeless Women Move into Vacant Property
San Francisco, CA – On May 1, two unhoused women and community advocates moved into an investment property that has sat vacant for years in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco. They are demanding the right to housing for all people and the right to shelter in place during the global pandemic.
There are currently more empty houses than homeless people in San Francisco. House the Bay is demanding that Mayor London Breed use her emergency powers to open all these vacant units to those currently trying to stay safe from the virus in congregate shelters, crowded SROs, or in tents on the street.
Taking inspiration from #Moms4Housing, House the Bay is directly meeting the real needs of our unhoused neighbors and demanding bolder initiatives from elected officials. While the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance requiring Mayor Breed to open 8,000 hotel rooms to homeless people, she refuses to comply with the will of her constituents, denying basic rights to our unhoused neighbors and putting all San Franciscans at risk.
“The only difference between us and someone who is housed is they have a roof over their head we don’t, but we are all San Francisco residents! We should be treated as such,”
says Couper Orona, a disabled firefighter and street medic who has moved into the house.
“I love my city and I am there for my community, but the way our leaders have ignored our pleas for support is heartbreaking. We need permanent housing, and we need it now. We can’t wait another day.”
Who is Couper Orona? 1 minute trailer from upcoming short doc, “Couper Was Here” about her life and homeless advocacy.
In 2018 San Francisco voters passed “Our City Our Home”, a ballot initiative that promised to open 4,000 units for homeless San Franciscans. Despite the overwhelming support from voters, Mayor Breed has refused to implement the initiative, instead leaving the taxes on the city’s wealthiest corporations in a bank account, untouched.
“It’s outrageous that while houses sit empty, we’re unable to safely shelter in place,”
says Jess Gonzalez, the other woman creating a home in this vacant house.
“Homes not barricades!! Homes not barricades!!” These are the words chanted by protesters marching through the streets of the Tenderloin. Some were carrying police barricades, while others held signs that read ‘DEFUND SFPD,” “Rent is Theft” and “Black Homes Matter”....
San Francisco has seen a surge in deaths among homeless people this spring, fatalities that officials are not directly attributing to coronavirus but which advocates say is a result of the shelter-in-place order that forced people on to the streets. Read the entire...
Listen to the full interview on KALW On this edition of Your Call, we’ll get an update on how San Francisco is handling its unhoused population during #COVID19. Last week, advocates staged a protest outside of Mayor London Breed’s house to demand more hotel rooms for...