Archive for December, 2010

Homeless man threatened with baseball bat - image courtesy of http://www.pinellashomeless.org

Since 1999, more than a thousand attacks against homeless individuals have occurred.

These attacks occurred in cities throughout our country in forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

They know no boundaries and are not limited by coast, region, or state. These attacks have permeated every corner of our society, resulting in two hundred ninety-one deaths and seven hundred eighty-three non-lethal attacks including beating with golf clubs, rape, and setting a man on fire while sleeping.

The victims have endured humiliations both great and small and the injuries they sustained created not only physical pain and scars, but also the crippling effects of wounded self-esteem and dignity of the human spirit.

The National Coalition for the Homeless has published an annual report documenting hate crimes and violence against homeless individuals since 1999. This organizing manual is intended to supplement those reports and to help concerned citizens and advocates educate those around them on the issue of bias-motivated crimes against homeless individuals; it includes both information and resources for citizens and advocates.  To effectively address the problem of violence towards homeless people, it needs to become a priority of communities, media, and legislators.

Trends in Hate Crimes: The number of incidents collected by the National Coalition for the Homeless under-represent the actual count of crimes committed against homeless individuals. However, the eleven-year map shows that of the ones recorded, trends can still be identified.  The states with the most crimes against homeless people tend to be both in areas with warm climates and in areas where communities have taken measures to criminalize homelessness.

Both California and Florida are good case studies.  Their warm climates are conducive to outdoor living, and many cities in both states have enacted severe anti-camping, panhandling, anti-feeding, and other criminalization of homelessness laws.  Many of the cities mentioned in NCH’s bi-annual criminalization report are also cities where hate crimes against homeless individuals have occurred.

In fact, seven of the ten meanest cities identified in Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness were cities in Florida and California. These states are also the ones with the highest number of bias motivated crimes against homeless individuals.

When communities criminalize homelessness, they send the message that homeless people do not matter and are not welcome in the community.  In addition to criminalization measures, the media is another source of negative messages about homeless people. Young men are most receptive to many of the exploitative, hateful messages. Accordingly, young men make up the majority of accused or convicted perpetrators of homeless hate crimes.

To see more info. including maps and statistics go here:  http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/hatecrimes/hatecrimesmanual10.pdf

More info. on violence against the homeless here: http://uspoverty.change.org/blog/category/violence_against_the_homeless

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WEBSITE: www.orgsites.com/ca/wd!
PHONE: (310) 845-6034
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PLEASE MAKE A CALL TO STOP LOS ANGELES: USA’S NEWEST POLICE ATTACKS ON THE POOR AND HOMELESS

Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villariagosa   (213) 978-0721
Venice Area Councilman, Bill Rosendhal   (213) 473-7011
LAPD Police Chief, Charles Beck              (213) 485-3202

PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION WHICH WILL SEND EMAILS TO OUR LOCAL OFFICIALS, POLIC OFFICERS AND THE MAYOR: STOP ATTACKING RV DWELLERS IN VENICE

These days, Los Angeles, USA , is seeing the worst attacks on homeless people in the city since the Skid Row/Bratton “Broken Windows” attacks in 2003. Scores of low-income people in the Venice Beach area recently have had their last affprdable homes, their R.V.s, seized –making them homeless.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-homeless-parking-20101212,0,2846867.story

Hundreds more homeless people have been arrested here in recent months.

Hundreds more are fleeing in fear.

Meanwhile, “shelters” in Los Angeles are jammed, often-filthy, inhumane, and have long-been more threatening than L.A’s jails. Nobody wants to go to them. “Affordable housing,” in Los Angeles, is now simply non-existent: as absurd government policies continue to merely prop real-estate prices sky-high for the banks –and to facilitate their on-going plans of home robbing foreclosure waves –since the economic crash.

—  L.A.’s jobs have vanished –unless you want to spend your days rummaging through dumpsters for bottles and cans.

—  Or drive a battered old truck around –looking all day for cast-off cardboard.

Yet, instead of it’s sold-out politicians, L.A. can always find a scapegoat in the homeless:

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/video?id=7835662

L.A’s Venice Beach Boardwalk is still L.A.’s number one tourist draw. And it is known world-wide for its poor and creative artists.

“Phase One..” of LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s program is, so far, just to kick us all out; regardless of our status here as a historic and peaceful part of the community –and there has yet to be a single place identified for the area’s 3,000 homeless and RV dwellers to go; even as arrests and towings under Rosendahl have skyrocketed since this hate-campaign he’s exploiting against L.A.’s Venice Beach homeless began.

These politicians –are purposefully building their oceanside enclaves for California’s exclusive rich: and walling them off to outside visitors, even as the rest of California crumbles in economic ruin.

Hippies, Beatniks, Beats and poor people living in community alongside everybody are what made Venice Beach –this special area –famous.

Now they are kicking us out –even as it is leading to more homeless deaths.

If you’d like to do something, just please make one CALL and simply say:

” Three homeless deaths in 2 months is enough, Mayor Villariagosa; These hundreds of people are not criminals –and tell Bill Rosendahl to quit saying they are. Mayor, you have the power to give the homeless and those in R.V.s in Venice a Safe Zone for the Holidays. Do it.”

Bill could’ve said something about safe zones –but not even that seems to be on his mind these days. Some of us will march again next Saturday –and hopefully with a bunch more new folks now.

We want to establish a homeless-run community in Venice to stop these attacks –But before we poor can mobilize to get affordable housing –But we need a “Safe Zone” in Venice from LAPD arrests and seizures –now!

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Thanks for your help.

Sincerely,
David Busch
www.orgsites.com/ca/wd!
(310) 845-6034

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Samples of the out of control rhetoric against homeless people:
http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/07/photoshop_rv_parking_photo.php
http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/09/venice_rv_parking_dump.php

A group of Venice homeless advocates met with Councilman Bill Rosendahl on Thursday, December 9, 2010 to discuss abuse of homeless by LAPD

A group of Venice homeless advocates met with Councilman Bill Rosendahl on Thursday, December 9, 2010 to discuss abuse of homeless by LAPD


A small group representing persons defined as homeless, mostly Venice Beach Artists, along with members of the housed community met with Bill Rosendahl yesterday to discuss the impact of the 20+ LAPD Officers on the targeted population, encouraging effective community based solutions, reminding the representatives of the City of LA that the face of homelessness in Venice has been unfairly represented in public forums and in the media, and the ongoing campaign to “police homeless” is not nor will ever be a solution.

On Saturday, beginning at noon, in the Venice circle (Windward and Main) a group will join together passing through Venice hot spots, to raise awareness and bring a face to homelessness. Please join in to stand united, for Venice is an inclusive community, and civil rights for every individual matters.

Lisa Green, Venice Artist
Green Party of Los Angeles, Co-Chair
http://cagreens.org/lacounty
Love is the strongest power in the universe

Darlene Knoll has lived in her RV on the street for the past 8 years. She has been harassed and intimidated by LAPD to the point that she sought sanctuary in a church parking lot, afraid to be on the street. Darlene has become an activist, trying to protect the homeless in Venice but she is afraid of being targeted by the new LAPD Task Force that has been towing vehicles and arresting their owners.