Monday, June 9, 2008

Seattle homeless, advocates camp out in protest

OK, it's bad enough that since April, when Mayor Nichols signed the order, homeless encampments can be broken up with 72 hours' notice. Homeless people are offered "help" and their belongings are stored for 60 days. BUT if you are kicked out of one camp and move to another, no 72 hour grace period for you, and this time your belongings go in the trash.

That's just one of the reasons why 150 homeless people and their allies camped out at the City Hall Plaza last night. Seattle may have 1,000 beds for homeless single people, but another 100-300 homeless people are camped out in the city and its surroundings. The Mayor says he plans to provide another 20 beds-- better than nothing, but far from enough.

Last night, Women in Black read the names of 283 homeless people who have died outside since 2000.

This morning, fifteen people were arrested for pitching a tent in the middle of Cherry St., demanding an end to business as usual.

You can go to Real Change, a community newspaper which also played a big role in organizing the camp-out, and check out what's happening in Seattle.

From an email I received this morning from Real Change:

Right now, dedicated supporters are flooding the mayor's office with calls, urging him to halt all non-emergency sweeps, and open real negotiations with Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless to fix his immoral and woefully inadequate policy. It's vital that the mayor yield to public pressure, stop punishing people for surviving outside, and work to create a policy that involves the people affected and provides for real accountability.

Please call the mayor at 206-684-4000. Tell him to halt all non-emergency sweeps immediately, and tell him to negotiate with Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless for a policy that really protects the rights of those on the streets. Add your voice to the community's, and stop the sweeps!

Thank you for your support! And a huge thank-you to Women in Black, the Interfaith Task Force On Homelessness, Operation Sack Lunch, Food Not Bombs, Heroes for the Homeless, and everyone else who provided food, blankets, and moral support last night and this morning!

Photo from Gurldoggie.

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