Sunday, April 14, 2013

Being Homeless and sleeping are against the law in California.

Homelessness in California is now punishable by a year in jail. Free Gary Johnson!
by Steven Argue ( steveargue2 [at] yahoo.com )
Sunday Jun 26th, 2011 1:07 PM
Homelessness in California is now punishable by a year in jail.

Free Gary Johnson! Overturn the Convictions of Ed Frey, Arthur Bishoff, Collette Connolly! Hands off Christopher Doyon!

End Laws making it Illegal for the Homeless to Sleep at Night!

Seize Housing From the Banks for those Who Need Housing! For a Nation Wide Jobs Program Building Housing for All!

[Photo by Liberation News. Daily protests at the Santa Cruz Courthouse from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM Monday through Friday demanding freedom for protesters convicted of sleeping.]

Free Gary Johnson! Overturn the Convictions of Ed Frey, Arthur Bishoff, Collette Connolly! Hands off Christopher Doyon!

By Steven Argue

For protesting on the county steps against Santa Cruz laws that make it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night, homeless activists Gary Johnson (no relation to Becky Johnson) and Attorney Ed Frey were sentenced to 6 months in jail on June 10th. Bail was set for Ed Frey, pending appeal, at $50,000. Their only act of civil disobedience was sleeping. This occurred at their three month protest called “Peace Camp 2010”. Revealing the political nature of the draconian sentences, Judge Gallagher told homeless activist Gary Johnson that he “could get some sleep in jail” before they were dragged away in chains for their 6 month sentences. The law they were protesting makes it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night, outside or in a vehicle.

On Friday, June 24, after two weeks in jail, Ed Frey was released on bail pending appeal with his bail of $50,000 dollars reduced to $110. Supporters quickly passed the hat and Ed Frey was released from jail on bail. Gary Johnson still sits in jail.

Also convicted for sleeping at the protest were Arthur Bishoff and Collette Connolly. A fifth protester, Christopher Doyon didn’t show up for the kangaroo court trial and bench warrant was issued. A sixth protester, Eliot Anderson was freed by a hung jury that failed to convict him. A juror said of the case, Anderson should not have to gas his dog to try to get into a shelter to legally sleep.

Many potential jurors were upset by the fact that they were to sit through a two week trial for the “crime” of sleep. One example was an elementary school teacher who said, "When I first came to Santa Cruz, I lived in my van for three years. During that time, I was hassled, arrested, and jailed. There is no way I could be impartial in this case considering the pain these people are suffering." A number of potential jurors said such things, but of course they never made it on to the jury. People who are aware of what is going on generally don’t make it onto juries in the United States. Those less aware people who made it onto the jury were told, in a typical manner, that they weren’t allowed to have their own opinions. In the oft repeated mantra of blind stupidity and injustice in America’s capitalist courts, Judge Gallagher told the jury, "Even if you disagree with the law, you must follow the law."

The four protesters were convicted of state anti-lodging law 647(E) for sleeping at the protest. Arthur Bishoff and Collette Connolly did not show up for the absurdity of sentencing and warrants were issued. Ed Frey and Gary Johnson were offered 400 hours of Community Service and 3 years probation for sleeping. In response, Gary Johnson, homeless, asked, "How can I take probation to obey all laws, when you've defined "sleeping" as lodging to the jury, making it a misdemeanor crime? How can I not sleep for six months during probation?" On basic principle and inability to comply, both Gary Johnson and Attorney Ed Frey turned down probation.

This was reminiscent of an earlier Santa Cruz case where Sandy Loranger did time in jail for feeding the homeless soup. When the judge offered her counseling instead of jail Sandy Loranger replied, "If feeding my fellow people is a crime, I am beyond rehabilitation."

The protest Gary Johnson, Ed Frey, Arthur Bishoff, and Collette Connolly were prosecuted for was peaceful in nature with the only act of civil disobedience being the illegal act of sleep outside. Basic protest facilities were included with Attorney Ed Frey providing the protesters with a needed port-a-potty. This helped provide the homeless with a safe place to sleep for months, despite the city government’s failure to provide such needed relief for its citizens.

The protest also shamed the city government into modifying the city’s law that makes it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night by providing a dismissal of the charges in court if the homeless being charged with sleep can show that they were on the waiting list for the insufficient shelter provided at the Homeless Service Center at the time they were ticketed. Other protests in the 1990s shamed the Santa Cruz City government into reducing the fine for sleeping at night outside or in a vehicle, but the Santa Cruz City Council continued to keep sleep at night for the homeless illegal at that time as well.

During those protests in the 1990s activists were arrested and brutalized by the infamously repressive Santa Cruz Police. Activist B.D. was tackled off his soap box and pepper sprayed by the Santa Cruz Police for giving a speech in favor of the homeless in front of numerous eyewitnesses and a video camera. In 1998 this author was beaten and arrested, spending four days in jail, for exercising my First Amendment right to distribute literature. It was literature in favor of rights for the homeless and opposed to police brutality.

The law for which Gary Johnson and Ed Frey were arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced was Penal Code Section 647(E), for “unlawful lodging”. This is a California state law. It was also recently used in August 2010 by the Santa Barbara Police to ticket Courtney Caswell-Peyton, a Santa Barbara disabled woman who fell asleep in her wheel chair. She showed-up for court worried about the possibility of getting her first conviction for any crime. Facing strong protest in that case, the Santa Barbara DA dismissed the charge in the “interests of justice”. While happy about not being convicted, she left court saying she was still homeless and questioning why she had no place to sleep.

Unlike the Santa Barbara dismissal, Gary Johnson, Ed Frey, Arthur Bishoff, and Collette Connolly were convicted in the notoriously bad Santa Cruz courts. Judge Gallagher is making an example of them for standing-up against the anti-homeless laws of Santa Cruz. The suspected reason cops charged the four with the state law rather than the Santa Cruz anti-sleeping law was a loophole where city laws didn’t apply because the protest was on county property. But, as a cop once told this author, “this is Santa Cruz; we can find a law for anything”. And find a law they did.

In 1983 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an earlier version of Penal Code Section 647(E) was unconstitutional in the case of Kolender v. Lawson. It was an anti-vagrancy law that was brought to the supreme court after it was used by San Diego Police to repeatedly harass a Black man with dread locks who was committing no real crime. As a result of that Supreme Court ruling that version of Penal Code Section 647(E) was repealed by the state legislature in 2008.

Since the overturning of the original 647(E) a new version was passed by the State Legislature which states, “Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it” “are guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor". Lodging is being used as a euphemism for sleeping here. This is the law the four protesters were convicted under.

In May 2011, this anti-homeless law 647 (E) was made even worse with the State Legislature making a second violation punishable of up to a year in jail and $2,000 fine. So now homelessness in the state of California is punishable by up to a year in jail if one is caught doing it twice.

Voting for this worsened anti-homeless law were Democrats and Republicans alike, including local Santa Cruz Democrat and darling of many reformist liberals, Bill Monning. Monning voted for that increased penalty at the same time that the people who actually stand-up for human rights were fighting the constitutionality of the law in court with their freedom on the line.

Here is a full list of those who voted for the worsened anti-homeless law: Achadjian, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Beall, Beth Gaines, Bill Berryhill, Block, Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, Brownley, Buchanan, Butler, Campos, Carter, Charles Calderon, Chesbro, Cook, Davis, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eng, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes, Furutani, Galgiani, Gatto, Gordon, Grove, Hagman, Halderman, Hall, Harkey, Hayashi, Hill, Huber, Hueso, Huffman, Jeffries, John A. Pérez, Jones, Knight, Lara, Logue, Ma, Mansoor, Mendoza, Miller, Monning, Morrell, Nestande, Nielsen, Norby, Olsen, Pan, Perea, Silva, Skinner, Smyth, Solorio, Swanson, V. Manuel Pérez, Valadao, Wagner, Wieckowski, Williams, and Yamada.

None voted against.

As the California state government, dominated by Democrats, passes anti-working class austerity and extremely harsh anti-homeless legislation, the Democrat holding power in Washington, Obama, wages wars in an increasing number of the world’s countries for the profit of arms manufacturers, oil corporations, and other imperialist capitalists and locks-up suspected whistle blower on U.S. crimes against humanity, Bradley Manning, under intolerable conditions. Bradley Manning is accused of releasing the helicopter footage that shows U.S. troops nonchalantly gunning down civilians including journalists, first aid respondents, and children in cold blood. Instead of charges of murder for those who committed it, it is Bradley Manning who goes to prison under Obama. Likewise, billions that could be used in a saner society for housing, healthcare, and education are squandered on war.

Meanwhile, the local Democrats in power in Santa Cruz send out their county and city cops to silence protests for human rights for the homeless, support legislation against immigrants like the “Secure Communities” program, and threaten to cut the already meager wages of In Home Support Workers, wages needed to provide the care that helps keep the disabled, elderly, and dying in their homes. While Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty supports the city’s anti-homeless laws, police repression, and has signed on with the anti-immigrant “Secure Communities” program, he opposes measures that would help fight homelessness like an increase in the minimum wage and has been part of carrying out austerity that includes the lay-off of workers and cuts in homeless services while at the same time hiring more cops.

As the current crisis of capitalism threatens the break-down all that is left that is civil in our society, the Democrats charge ahead with the Republicans in making sure it is the poor and working class who pay for the crisis of capitalism, not capitalist profits. All reformist dreams of the Democrat Party in any way being a source of any sort of “hope” should be abandoned in favor of recognizing reality. Labor unions must abandon their illusions in the Democrats and stop giving them our money and instead prepare to fight by putting union dues in strike funds. The true power of labor will never be found groveling at the feet of hostile Democrat politicians. Instead, labor has the potential to win demands by shutting down the profits of the capitalists.

As opposed to the Democrat’s program of more war, more cops, criminalization of poverty, political repression, and austerity labor should move forward with our own demands. Those could include a massive jobs program to house the homeless, the seizure of housing foreclosed by the banks to be used by those who need it, and an end to capitalist medicine in the United States, a major cause of debt, homelessness, and death. Without an independent fight-back of the working class, using the power of the strike for political demands, the situation will just continue to grow bleaker.

A revolutionary worker’s party should be built to advocate and lead on just such a class struggle program. To remain a tool of the working class in the long run such a party also needs to have an anti-capitalist program for the building of socialism. Political parties without a clear anti-capitalist program, once in power, just become mere rulers over the inherent injustices of the capitalist system. Instead of capitalism, an egalitarian socialist economy in the United States with production based on human need rather than capitalist profit could provide everyone with a job, housing, health care, and free education. Such a society needs to be built on principles of workers’ democracy rather than Stalinist dictatorship or American style dictatorship of the wealthy.

The alternative to socialist revolution becomes increasingly clear as capitalist society becomes less and less able to take care of its people; climate change caused by capitalist greed becomes an increasing threat to the future of human civilization; the capitalist state becomes increasingly repressive; and the leading capitalist countries plunge the world into war after war of imperialist domination and conquest. As the great German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg said in 1918, the alternatives are socialism or barbarism.

Free Gary Johnson! Overturn the Convictions of Ed Frey, Arthur Bishoff, Collette Connolly! Hands Off Christopher Doyon!

End Laws making it Illegal for the Homeless to Sleep at Night!

Seize Housing From the Banks for those Who Need Housing! For a Nation Wide Jobs Program Building Housing for All! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Another Homeless Day in Paradise...


Smoking: WTF am I totally freeken stupid or am I a masochist? I have been a fan of the "Electronic Cig" lately and have been puffing away on them for a few weeks now. I was thinking wow this is great all the positives like - no bad smell on cloths, can smoke inside, cheaper, etc... So what do I get today before work a pack of Marlboro 100's because a gal at work was smoking them on break and I wanted a REAL cig not this shitty little electronic one. My brain is definitely different that most.. I am an addict to the bone man. I also have found out this year trying to quit that I have a strong emotional connection with cigs. My Mom and Grandmother were heavy smokers and I started when I was 13 years old. I used to smoke with them. The last few years I have had a lot of family stuff happen like my Grandmother committing suicide and my Mom being a prescription pill addict for over 22 years and almost dead. In a sick kind of way I enjoy the cig because I miss my Mom and Grandmother. I want that connection.. I have a spot on my lung and I have known this for about 10 years now. I quit cigs and went to cigars and now to electronic cigs. They are better so I guess I will have to settle for them at this point because I am not willing to quit yet. I am a slow learner that is for sure. Better than drinking though that is for sure. BUT these fucken things will kill me I know that and still do it. I will have to just say "this I am unwilling to quit today but maybe I will be strong enough tomorrow". They say in the Program to not say that you will not NEVER quit something bad and I don't want to become so dam depressed about myself that I want a drink so I will just have to live for being imperfect today. I also have been thinking about this video that I saw about homeless people smoking more than housed people. My head... If it is not cigs it will be food.. I wish I was stronger but I am who I am. 

More Web Traffic to California Homeless Resources:  I am getting about 1-3 calls a week now from this website that I built last year, people needing help. I am glad on one hand that I can help people that is for sure! I am happy every time a person calls me wanting help. I had this gal call me today that was crying on the phone about having to be homeless. She has a young child and is expecting. Being a single mother with kids is TUFF STUFF!  Every time I think I have it bad I think about the single woman out there and what they have to endure with being homeless. I can't even imagine.. Anyway, I am glad I can point them in the right direction BUT I am also very sad for them and upset at our country at the same time. I m also a bit concerned about being able to handle all of the calls I am going to get in the near future. The website is getting about 7-10,000 hits a month at this point and growing every day. I will be contacting Sacramento next week to see if I can get on the States Payrol somehow so that I can devote all of my time to doing this work for the homeless. This is really what I feel like doing everyday. This gal that I saw (Catherine) really touched me. She is choosing to have a hip surgery and get cut on just to get some help. I related because the reason why I have personally been homeless is that I decided to wait to have hip surgery on each hip until later in life. This could be next week but hey I should have that right.. I want to wait as long as I can because the longer I wait the better the technology will be for fake hips. Plus I don't want to deal with it right now in my life. If I decided to go do it I would get my full disability right now. So I have had to be homeless off and on now for 2 1/2 years because I didn't want to get cut on. Pretty shitty when your Country makes you wait over 2 year+ to get help or makes you decide that getting cut on would better than being homeless. This hit me this week after watching this video that this is what I have been doing. I will hopefully get a hearing in a couple months so I should be cool after that. 

Living Oprah:  I just finished reading this book. It was a good read.. I like the gal Robyn Okrant that wrote the book. This book hit a few chords with me. What entrepreneur does not want to be touched by the magic gold finger of Oprah.. I want her to support California Homeless Resources. I wanted to read it because I saw a documentary on this book about 2 years ago. "The O Effect" is VERY powerful and she has the biggest brand on earth. I have been into branding and building a following the last couple years for my Ceramic Tattoo Art business. It has been a interesting experiment if you will. I am still learning about it. Being anti social for a large part of my life, this has been an eye opener on people in general. It is wild that choosing to be an artist is so different than choosing to be a business man in a suit. People sure do treat ya different. This book was about Robyn living the suggestions that Oprah gave her every day for a year to see if it would help her "live her best life". Some of what she found was that people really just want to be "heard". This is why I spent thousands of hours literally making California Homeless Resources last year being homeless. Being homeless makes you feel like a nonentity that is for sure. The only way I could get my voice heard is to blog, make and website for the homeless. It has turned out to be one of my life's greatest challenges and accomplishments. I am just scratching the surface and there is a lot more work to be done that is for sure. She also stated at the end that maybe she should shut of the TV and start doing other things with her life. I could totally relate to that as well. Being true to one's self is not the easy way to go always and I am learning that as well. I have never been the person to do things the easy way. I have a certain pride about being a survivor if you will. That is the only way to look at the last couple of years and still smile. You have to turn what life gives you into a learning experience and have it make you stronger. Well you don't have to.. You could keep smoking and ruining your health and pay the price associated with that. We have free will to make healthy or unhealthy decisions daily I have to remember this and walk the walk. This book is about letting someone else run your life for a year to see if YOUR life would get better. On health and finances it did get better for her but she lost herself and damaged some relationships in the process of following someone else's receipt for "living your best life". They call it being true to yourself for a reason. You can pick up good suggestions but ultimately it is the "man in the mirror" and your personal relationship with your higher power that really counts. 

When you get all you want and you struggle for pelf,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.
For it isn't your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
He's the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.
For he's with you right to the end,
and you've passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you've cheated the man in the glass.


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Monday, April 8, 2013

Steven Sweat - Los Angeles Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys

I had a client about 3 years ago.  When she called me, she said she could only talk "a few minutes" because she had a pre-paid cell phone with limited time left.  She told me she was crossing La Brea Boulevard (a busy four lane surface street in Los Angeles).  She waited for the cross walk and started across but, she was a little slow because she had injured her knee while serving her country as a veteran in the first Gulf War.  She got about 3/4 across the interection when a person, not paying attention, blew past the limit line and struck her at approximately 35-40 mph after skidding to a stop.  The impact knocked her about 1-15 feet into the intersection.  She went from walking with difficulty to not walking at all.

As we talked further, I told her I was interested in representing her.  She told me she only had VA health care and that she had gone to them for emergency treatment but, wanted to get a second opinion because "they were the ones that told me my knee 'would heal' after the war" and it had now been over 10 years and it wasn't much better.   I said I would find her an Orthopedic doctor that would be willing to treat her despite the fact that she had no health insurance other than VA benefits.  Knowing she had mobility problems, I offered to go to her "house" to see her.  There was a long pause ... and then she said, "Well, Mr. Sweat, this is embarrasing but, I don't have a home.  I've been staying at the Union Shelter downtown for the past three months.  I thought I had a job lined up and was going to get out of here but, then this accident happened."

I drove down to "skid row" and did a consultation with her in my car parked in front of the shelter.  I found a doctor that did an MRI on her knee and determined that she needed surgery for a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).   I got them to agree to do the surgery "on a lien", which meant she was treated despite lack of insurance and the doctor just agreed to be paid out of the settlement.  I filed a claim with the driver's automobile insurance company and sent a letter requesting to settle the case without having to file a lawsuit.  I pointed out that the liability for negligence was clear and that my client had a significant injury, which warranted them to just pay out the available insurance policy limit.  They refused and I had to spend the better part of a year fighting them in court.  They took my client's deposition and she told them (again) how the accident happened and about her injury.  I took the deposition of their insured driver, who admitted to blowing through the intersection because he was talking on his cell phone. They demanded all the medical records which I had already given them before filing suit (which is required by California Law) and I gave it to them again.  They demanded to have their doctor examine my client (which is allowed under California Law)and I let them examine her.   Finally, they relented and paid the full policy limit.

I was able to reduce my client's medical bills and get them paid and she netted a nice portion of the remaining settlement.

Fast forward six months: I am sitting in my office and I receive a small note: "Dear Mr. Sweat: I just want to thank you.  My knee has never felt better (Thank Dr._________ for me too!).  I'm back working and I used the money I got on the lawsuit (along with a VA loan) to buy a house.  It's not big and it's not fancy, but it's home!"

This is L.A. "street law" at its finest!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Another Homeless Night at Denny's... Tim with 4 Hungry Kids and a Wife...


Denny's:  Yes it is another gorgeous day in Goleta Ca. and I am Denny's blogging :) There is a sense of comfort here for me and some other people I see here every day. I sleep here most nights. I sleep right next to a gal in a older Camero and some other "campers" or un-housed people. I have it so good and so much better than a lot of homeless. Denny's has comfy seating and it is kinda dark and open 24 hours a night. It is kinda like you are in your home. The computer has given me a sense of comfort too. The computer is one of my most important possessions/weapons because I use it for looking for work, web design to make money and to help people. The cell phone is of course the other. These are the only thing that can really provide me with comfort because it gives me hope and allows me to "escape" for a while or Blog and feel that my voice is heard or go on Facebook and connect with my friends.  

Tim with 4 Hungry Kids and a Wife:  WOW! This is why I spent so much time and am so blessed to have had the inspiration to complete California Homeless Resources! I just got off the phone  with a new friend "Tim" he has 4 hungry kids and just moved his family here last month from Colorado to get to a warmer location. He called me today while I was at work and asked me for some help. He said his kids are hungry and he just moved here and is staying in San Demis Ca. He is also disabled form the Military and it is hard to find work. He does not have Internet so I told him I would call him back tonight and give him a bunch of info./numbers to call and get help. I will be "his intranet" for tonight. How easy is that and what a help I can be to this poor guy. He has his cell paid up til the end of the month and I told him this is his best tool and to use the shit out of it to get help! He is a veteran so I told him this is "Urban Survival" and the phone/computer are your weapons! His computer just took a crap last week too.. His family is two sisters in Michigan and they don;t even have food money to send him and they are both renting a room. I told him I would be his Internet for a few weeks if he needs it. I would love to help this guy out as MUCH as POSSIBLE! This guy is a vet with four kids! He gets $500.00 a month and that is it! Lets raise some $$$ for Tim. If anyone wants to give PLEASE do so and I will get you in touch with him personally and you can send the money directly to a vet in need. Lets take care of our own! 

Caught in the Middle:  I heard that the most populated demographic of homeless here in Ca. is a 43 year old male. That makes sense given the current help available to a male versus a woman or a woman with kids. I realized that I am kind of in the middle (like a lot of homeless). There is an increasing population of middle management/young professionals like myself here that are running out of unemployment and are going to have to be homeless, or go "camping" in there vehicle. That is the main reason/inspiration why I made California Homeless Resources.  I wanted to help the young professional in the middle. We are the people you don't see. We are the people at Denny's late at night ALONE and we are the ones that leave quietly at night, get in the car/van, put something on the window and go to sleep. Get up and go to the gym and take a shower and then spend all day looking for work. People "SEE" the homeless in the park and the people that have lost everything and are congregating with other people that have lost everything. If you can retain a car you have hope to stay in the middle until you possibly get a job and come back to living. The people that loose there cars are the people that have gone all the way down and they need people around them to help them emotionally. They have NOTHING. They have there feet (if they are not handicap) and they have to fight for everything at that point. This is the point when a lot of people just give up. I can imagine (I almost went all the way down a few times this last couple of years). That is why I want to get rid of this stigmatising that "homeless" can not really get access to the intranet. I need to work on getting this message out! I was being interviewed this week by a newspaper. (trying to get PR for site) and this gal asked me - well homeless can only get on the net in the library right? I said NO! They are sitting in the parking lots of McDonald's, Denny's, etc... trying to get on the net to look for work and find help. I was sitting in McDonald's Parking lot when she called to interview me. I think this will be one of my main messages from now on. We (the people caught in the middle) that have a car and a computer that they are hanging on to for all it is worth to try and keep that hope of finding a job and getting out of the situation. It can be VERY lonely being in the middle. You have to stay under the radar and not make waves. You have to constantly look for cops, etc... You are constantly worried that the car is going to break down or something will happen that will bring you all the way down. VERY SCARY...
 
Ceramic Tattoo Art and Networking:  For me personally I am doing fantabulous! I am getting some PR for California Homeless Resources :))) I just made a new friend (Tim). I spent 3 hours this week and got like 3 news papers to do a story on the site. Here is the link to one of them: http://www.independent.com/news/2013/mar/31/homeless-resources-website/  This tells me this is my mission for the next year to get this dam thing out to as many people as I possibly can! So I got a job at a call center as a customer service rep :) I am working about 25 hours a week and waiting for my full disability to go through in may or June. I also got a job at a 50 unit Senior Complex in Santa Barbara to manage :))) I got a web site that I will be doing tomorrow for a very cool lady here in Goleta that is coming out with a RAD product that goes with my Ceramic Tattoo art site. I am working out in the gym and getting healthy again :))) I am being me and talking to people to try and build my network for both sites. My life is GREAT right now and I am looking forward to this year. 

Questions/Comments:  Please give me your ideas for a "hook" or something to grab the news agencies. I want to get some MAJOR PR for California Homeless Resources so the "people in the Middle" can get the help they need to get up and out! Please help by posting this BLOG and the site info to your Facebook, Twitter, etc... Lets get the word out!  Lets HELP TIM! Call me anytime at:  805-765-113 or e-mail me:  tootallspottery@gmail.com and I will put you in touch with Tim so we can help him and his 4 kids out. 

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Heat Holders

Heat Holders Online Store

OMG these things are the shit! I had to Blog about these socks. They have saved my FEET literally the last few months I have been "Camping" again..  If you need the site here it is:  http://usa.heatholders.com/?gclid=CNanxsq7nrYCFYKDQgodVBMAlQ
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Torres Community Shelter

Torres Community Shelter

About Us

The Chico Community Shelter Partnership is a thriving, growing, effective and always improving non-profit organization dedicated to assisting a wide variety of people in their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and a more stable lifestyle. We operate the Torres Community Shelter and for over 13 years, we’ve provided shelter and related social services to help people experiencing homelessness in our community.
We offer emergency shelter throughout the year at the Torres Community Shelter. Services are provided to our guests at no cost, and include case management, beds, showers, evening meals, laundry, basic personal necessities, message and mail service, storage of personal belongings, and transportation. Related social services provided on site include SSI counseling and filing assistance, basic educational tutoring, health screening, TB testing and education, veteran’s benefit assessment, behavioral health assessments, AA and NA meetings, legal services, and referrals to job preparedness programs and permanent and transitional housing.
The Torres Shelter is the only emergency shelter in the area that serves men, women and families with children. Approximately 75% of our guests are male and 25% are female, in part because we are the only emergency shelter in Chico for men. We also provide family accommodations, and our facility includes five private family rooms.
Over the last few years we have been seeing a definite increase in people needing assistance.
  • In 2012 we served more than 670 people including 46 families with 77 children, and we provided over 30,000 nights of stay.
  • On average, 82 people stay with us each night.
  • More than half our guests move into a better situation when they leave the Shelter!
More people means a lot more expenses, greatly impacting our budget...higher PG&E bills, higher water bills, more shampoo, laundry soap, toilet paper, etc. If you can help us, please click here to donate!
The work that we do benefits the guests we serve, but also helps our broader community. The Torres Shelter is not only a humane alternative to leaving people to sleep on our streets, but it is also represents solid public policy. At the Shelter, we have the opportunity to affect people's lives and choices with support, counsel and guidance. Without the Shelter, we'd lose that connection and that opportunity to affect change in the course of the lives of the individuals we serve.  
Thank you for your interest and ongoing support. We can't do it without you!

Shelter Services

The Torres Community Shelter is a large 120-bed homeless shelter in Chico, CA that serves men, women, and families with children. In addition to providing overnight shelter, showers, and an evening meal, we strive to help people improve their circumstances...find jobs, housing, and many other things vital to getting back on their feet. Our facility includes a large men's dorm, a women's dorm, five family rooms, a warming kitchen, a conference room, and a number of offices. Staff includes an Executive Director, a Shelter Supervisor, a Service Coordinator Supervisor, two Service Coordinators, a Shelter Coordinator, and a number of Shelter Monitors, in addition to a large group of volunteers. Guest support services include:
  • Emergency overnight shelter for men, women and families
  • Private family rooms
  • Evening meals
  • Clean restrooms and showers, toiletries provided
  • Clothing vouchers to Independent Living Services (ILP)
  • Telephone message service
  • Laundry
  • Mail received
  • Case management and assistance
  • Free shuttle between the Torres Community Shelter and the Jesus Center (daily) and also from the Salvation Army to the Shelter on Sunday evening only. The shuttle bus is marked "Special" and the schedule is as follows:
    • Shuttle transportation from the Torres Community Shelter to the Jesus Center--Monday through Saturday at 7:15 AM and Sunday at 8:00 AM
    • Shuttle transportation from the Jesus Center to the Torres Community Shelter--Monday through Saturday at 4:15 PM
    • Shuttle transportation from the Salvation Army to the Torres Community Shelter--Sunday at 6:00 PM
  • Referrals to the following services:
    • Public benefits
    • Mental Health services
    • Legal services
    • Employment services
    • Addiction services
    • Medical services
    • Veteran's services
When making a referral or considering a stay please be aware of the daily schedule  and the conditions of stay that apply to all guests. Please call the Shelter at (530) 891-9048 for more information.

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Valley Restart Shelter, Inc.

About VALLEY RESTART SHELTER (VRS) VRS started 1989 as a daytime drop-in center and a cold weather shelter. Volunteer community leaders, along with leaders from Unity Church and United Methodist Church, came to the VRS house and staffed it to help the less fortunate of the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley area. In1995, VRS, now a public, not-for-profit California corporation, acquired our current home, the old YMCA property on Menlo Avenue and State Street in Hemet.
Goals of VRS 
The goals of VRS can be summarized in the following: Moving people out of homelessness and into a higher level of self-sufficiency and independence; and providing resources for essential needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing.
Mission Statement  Our mission is to provide essential services to families, adults, and children who lack basic resources to sustain themselves within our community.
Motto:
To teach. to train. to restart lives.
A Full Service Community Agency VRS is a family-oriented emergency shelter and resource center that operates 24-7. It provides both emergency homeless services to residents of Mid and Southwest Riverside County and on-going programs to the community. VRS is a working shelter, and the residents help support the program with the upkeep of the facility.

As part of our goal of helping our residents to restart their lives, VRS offers a number of programs, including: information and referrals, needs' assessment, homeless prevention education, and intensive case management related to gaining self-sufficiency and independence.

Our Case Managers work closely with our residents to see that they set goals for themselves and then help hold the residents accountable to reach those goals. Goal-setting begins during the intake process, and progress is monitored daily. Identifying the obstacles to self-sufficiency and the solutions or alternatives is the first step in our process. Our professional counselors help with crisis intervention. We are a drug and alcohol-free facility; we do-random observed testing. Many participants take advantage of the services offered, which is located across the street at Riverside County Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, as well as local daily NA meetings.
As part of our goal to return our participants to the community in active, self-sufficient roles, our program teaches money management. We encourage saving money earned with a mandatory savings of 80% of all income sources. This mechanism supports efforts while staying at VRS so they are prepared to meet the costs associated with living in our community.
A True Community Project VRS is a partnership of the public, private, and religious sectors of the San Jacinto Valley. Many local businesses support our efforts along with a myriad of government agencies including: The Riverside County Departments of Public Social Services, Mental Health, Riverside County Sheriffs Department, City of Hemet Police and local service organizations. There is input into operations from the San Jacinto Valley Homeless Task Force, the Human Relations Council, Riverside County Housing and Homeless Continuum of Care, Adult Systems of Care, and the Interfaith Council.

Leaders of area faith-based and service groups collaborate their efforts to ensure that certain needs are met. These include volunteering, providing home cooked meals each night, fund raising activities throughout the area, and donations to our participants as well as to the Shelter in general.
How the Center Works 
Since 2003 the Executive Director, Linda Rogers, has provided leadership and carried out the mission of VRS. She works with the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board represents a variety of community interests. These are members from the community at large who give of their time to oversee the VRS facility with policy and procedures. Our Advisory Boards assist, and advise the Board of Directors in their deliberations.

Policies and procedures are managed through the administration and staff at VRS. In addition, community members and VRS participant volunteers assist in the day-to-day operations.

While the Operations Department manages the day-to-day facility activities, Case Management works with individual members of the VRS community to develop a restart action plan for independent living. Ultimately we hope to help our participants break the cycle of homelessness. Using intensive case management, we provide individualized referrals and support, life skills training, and job-finding skills.
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Transition House

Transition House - Santa Barbara Homeless Shelter & Support


Mission and Philosophy

Our Mission

Transition House is dedicated to the solution of family homelessness in the Santa Barbara community. Capable and motivated families with children are offered respectful, non-sectarian residential services and the life skills needed to alleviate their poverty, and to restore self-sufficiency and dignity.

Our Philosophy

In 1984, Transition House was created by volunteers from the Santa Barbara area who stepped forward to give food and shelter to their homeless neighbors. Transition House’s program is based on the understanding that the root cause of family homelessness is poverty. There may be other and varied contributing factors to homelessness, but underlying it is always poverty.

Understanding the crippling downward spiral that poverty creates, Transition House has designed a comprehensive three stage housing program to solve homelessness for capable and motivated families, to end their reliance on public assistance, and to prevent family homelessness before it occurs by helping those on the brink of losing their existing housing.
To solve family homelessness and welfare dependence, Transition House helps families develop life skills and sound decision making practices aimed at alleviating their poverty. Staff works with each family to facilitate realistic avenues to meet the following goals:
  • Safe and affordable housing.
  • Access to high quality childcare.
  • Viable employment with growth potential.
  • Economic responsibility and self-sufficiency.
While working toward these goals, Transition House provides strong, family-centered support services and rigorous case management for each family.
As a result, the Transition House’s program has had remarkable results: on average, 60% of clients return to permanent housing with the economic means to sustain it. Since its beginnings, over 10,000 parents and their children have been directly helped by Transition House.
The success of Transition House is also achieved because of two groups—the residents of our community who provide over 70% of our annual operating expenses, and volunteers who provide in-kind services valued at over $350,000 each year. Collectively, 1,200 community members support the work of staff at Transition House.
It is what makes the people of Santa Barbara, and Transition House, so unique.

Programs and Services

Since its creation in 1984, Transition House has provided aid to local homeless families by offering shelter for those in immediate need and by teaching the life-skills necessary to step out of the downward spiral of poverty, become self-sufficient, and return to permanent housing.
In addition to the Three-Stage Housing Program, our Homelessness Prevention Program gives financial aid and intensive case management to families in imminent danger of losing their existing housing.

Our Three-Stage Housing Program

1. Emergency Shelter - Homeless families enter Transition House’s Emergency Shelter where food, shelter, and transitional case management lasting up to 120 days are provided. Families are stabilized, career goals are identified, and strategies to reach them are implemented. Clients participate in employment and/or educational programs. Children are enrolled in school or quality childcare. Transition House’s McCune Family Shelter houses between 15 – 22 families (up to 70 people), and all meals are provided.
2. Transitional Living Residence – The family moves on to transitional residence and
services at our second-stage facility, called the Firehouse, where they live for an average of six months. Career counseling, financial management, and educational enhancement continue. Transition House case management monitors progress toward long-term financial and life-skills goals that will one day lead to lasting economic stability. Life at the Firehouse also provides families the opportunity to build friendships and support networks with other families in preparation for the time when they return to permanent housing. A total of six families live inFirehouse where they share a common living room, dining room and kitchen. Families prepare their own meals and share in household chores. Each family has private sleeping quarters and a portion of income (30% and below) is paid in rent.
3. Permanent Affordable Housing – Transition House families with long range goals of achieving lasting economic self-sufficiency can apply for placement in one of 26 low-cost apartments owned by Transition House. Services including career monitoring, case management and educational enhancement continue to be provided. At the end of two years, the family reaches an income level that enables them to afford market-rate housing. Heads of the household become fully invested in jobs they care about. Savings accrue. The family becomes self-sufficient.

Our Family Centered Services include:

1. Three stages of supportive housing.
2. Provision of all basics needs during the crisis period in the emergency shelter, including three meals per day, diapers for infants and personal toiletries.
3. Fully-licensed, no-cost infant care onsite; and financial assistance and referrals to fully-licensed childcare for toddlers.
4. Employment development program including assistance with job searches, crafting resumes and filling out applications.
5. The Family Support Center includes free ESL, Job Club, a computer lab and parenting classes (Childcare is provided during class time).
6. Referrals to other social service agencies as needed for programs including recovery services,  counseling, legal support, and health services.
7. Money management training.
8. Primary healthcare.
9. Bus tokens until income is secured.
10. Referrals for clothing and food.
11. Free evening tutoring program for children.
13. Our Technology and Literacy for Children program.
14. Evening Arts Enrichment Program for children.
15. Haircuts and career clothing.
16. Summer camp scholarships

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Homeward Bound of Marin

History of Homeward Bound of Marin

Our first shelter for four families opened in 1974 in San Rafael as Marin County’s interfaith community sought with vision and compassion to address the problem of homelessness. 

Initially named the Marin Housing Center, our agency organized a winter shelter in a 5,000-square foot tent that rotated through various cities. It operated at the National Guard Armory in San Rafael from 1987 to 1991, at the former World College West campus in 1992, and at the Marin Civic Center in 1993. Late that year it finally arrived at the former Hamilton Naval Air Base on a plot of land surrounded by barbed wire -- an internment camp for the homeless! 

In 1994, Novato city officials began work on plans for civilian use of the Hamilton base. After lengthy talks, the council agreed to develop a shelter and signed a 99-year land lease at $1 per year on an 18,000-square-foot parcel for this purpose. 

The county and agencies like Marin Housing Center continued to grapple with the realization that shelter alone did not solve homelessness. The answer lay in opening doors to new futures and livelihoods for independent living. 

In 1996, reflecting these goals, the Marin Housing Center became Homeward Bound of Marin, with a mission of “Opening doors to safety, dignity, hope and independence.” 

Homeward Bound of Marin was selected to operate the new Hamilton center, which was envisioned as a campus with shelter, job-training facilities and on-site employment for homeless individuals. New Beginnings Center opened in 2000 with help from myriad Marin businesses, government and service agencies, schools and community groups. 

Its success immediately led to talk of “the next step” for people completing their journeys from crisis to stability to thriving. This concept became The Next Key Center, which opened in November 2008 with 32 affordable studio apartments, room to grow the Fresh Starts Culinary Academy and space to expand social enterprise businesses like rental of The Key Room event space, on-site catering and production of chocolate Halo Truffles. It also includes administrative offices for Homeward Bound of Marin. 

Other programs operated by Homeward Bound include the 40-bed Mill Street Center, the county’s only emergency shelter for adults, which opened in 1986. An emergency shelter program for families began operating from two motels in Marin in 1993 and continues today as the 14-room Family Emergency Center in San Rafael. 

Our original 4-family shelter has become the second-step Family Resource Center; renovations have expanded the space to nine family rooms. 

We began serving people with persistent mental illness in 1987 at the former Carmel Hotel in San Rafael now called the Voyager Carmel Center. Our Palm Court permanent supportive housing program for people with persistent mental illness opened in 2001. 

Homeward Bound also focuses on permanent solutions to homelessness by providing long-term transitional and permanent housing for families and adults. Fourth Street Center in San Rafael, with 20 single-room units, opened as Homeward Bound’s first permanent housing program in 1995; while the Meadow Park and Family Park transitional housing programs opened between 2002 and 2004 for adults and families in transition. 

In recent years Homeward Bound has partnered with affordable housing developers to provide permanent shelter solutions for homeless families and adults. Beginning in 2007, we entered a partnership with EAH where Homeward Bound staff provides supportive services to formerly homeless families resident in their “San Clemente Village” program in Corte Madera. 

Homeward Bound partners also with Eden Housing Corp. to provide services to formerly homeless families and seniors at the Fireside Apartments in Mill Valley. The agency will take a similar role for the Warner Creek apartment complex for seniors, which is set to open in Novato in late 2012.
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Poverello House

History:
Poverello House is a private, nonprofit, nondenominational organization that serves the hungry, homeless, and destitute of Fresno, California. Poverello House began officially in 1973, but its history goes back much further.
In the turbulent 1960's, a young man named Mike McGarvin was on the fast track to becoming one of the many casualties of the decade. Drugs, alcohol, violence and hopelessness were his daily companions, until he found a place in San Francisco called Poverello House. The priest who ran the coffee house asked Mike to volunteer, and the experience changed his life.
The San Francisco Poverello served people who were characterized by poverty and despair. It was a place where they could come to find acceptance, a smile, and unconditional love. There, Mike found the answer to his problems: service to others.
Several years later, Mike married and moved to Fresno. He worked as a photoengraver, but was searching for a way to repay God for saving his life. The answer came when he noticed homeless people on the streets of Fresno. Mike knew what to do; he would hand out peanut butter sandwiches, talk to people, and let them know someone cared. Mike's small ministry soon grew, and others began to help. A storefront building was obtained, and he named it after the place that had saved him in San Francisco: Poverello House.
Poverello House thrived until the building burned down. Mike and his volunteers went back to the streets and alleys. Soon they had another building, but they were evicted, and once again took to the streets. Finally, through the generous contribution of a donor, Poverello House opened in its current site at 412 "F" Street.
From this location, the organization has grown tremendously. In 1992, a major expansion and renovation was completed, more than doubling the size of the building and broadening services. Poverello House now serves three meals a day, 365 days a year, to anyone in need; offers free medical and dental care through the Holy Cross Clinic; provides showers and laundry services to the homeless; serves as a day shelter and safe haven for people on the streets, houses a 28-bed residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation program, and a five-bed transitional home; distributes free clothing; provides recreation, mail service, transportation, and, in 2004, opened the Village of Hope, a temporary overnight shelter for homeless people who want an alternative to the streets.
Recently, Poverello House collaborated with the City of Fresno to open a second village, called The Community of Hope.


Stats:
People frequently ask us where we receive funding to operate. Since the beginning, the majority of funding has come from the community in the form of individual gifts, memorials, bequests, and contributions from church groups and businesses. Looking at the income chart to the right, you can see that 87.5% of our funding comes from these sources. Were it not for the generous support of our donors, Poverello House would not be able to continue to offer so much to so many.
Chart of Expenses for Fiscal Year 2006/2007
Expenses for 2006/2007
Click to Enlarge
If you glance at the chart that cites our expenses, you can see that the greatest proportion of our expenditures went toward homeless services, which consists of the many things we do to help people on the streets, such as emergency housing, transportation, recreation, and social services. Our next largest services category is providing food to the hungry. Substance Use Rehab encompasses the costs of running our Resident Program. Clinic/Health Support is what we contribute to the operation of Holy Cross Clinic. The newsletter category is the cost of producing and mailing the Poverello News, our primary means of raising money and awareness. Community Relations refers to volunteer coordination, public relations, and fund-raising activities. Operations represent what it costs to keep everything going: utilities, insurance, repairs, maintenance, fuel, etc. We do our best to keep operation costs at a minimum; however with increasing fuel and utilities costs in the last year, expenses rose from the previous years. Administration is the cost of supervising and coordinating the many facets of Poverello House. If you have any questions, or would like to explore how you can support us, please contact us at 559.498.6988.
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