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Sunday, August 1, 2021

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HousingHomelessness'Throwing us out like garbage'

‘Throwing us out like garbage’

SIP hotel residents say the city's not living up to its promises -- and contracts.


“The city gave all of us contracts when we got here and said we would be housed for 18 months to three years,” said Ronnie X, one of the houseless residents who was sleeping in a tent and offered Shelter in Place hotel rooms in San Francisco because of the COVID pandemic. 

Protesters call for an end to the hotel evictions.

Over the last eight months of the Shelter in Place mandate, cities across this stolen land were told to stop “sweeping” houseless peoples, our tents and belongings like we are trash, by the Centers for Disease Control, as those policies weren’t in compliance with CDC SIP guidelines. But from Philly to Sacramento to San Francisco to Oakland, the sweeps continued — and more importantly, so did the anti-poor people hate. 

Witness most violently the Thanks-Taking eviction of houseless families, who like Moms4Housing, took back their own rights to “shelter in place” in abandoned homes owned by CalTrans, ordered by Governor Gavin Newsom and carried out by California Highway Patrol on November 26.

In many cities like Philadelphia, whose residents staged a co-ordinated housing and land decolonization occupation, which resulted in them taking back some abandoned homes for permanent housing, and locally in the Bay Area, because of housed advocates, houseless revolutionaries and poverty skolaz demanding, protesting and pushing, not to mention the millions of “homeless services” dollars flowing into cities, finally some mayors like SF Mayor London Breed and Libby Shaaf  begrudgingly granted some of the thousands of empty hotel and motel rooms to the houseless residents of their cities. 

“We pay for these rooms, Ronnie continued, “I had to agree that $400 dollars of my $480.00 GA check would be allocated to pay for the motel room before I moved in, which I had no problem with, but don’t act like these rooms are given to us for “free” and then just renege the contracts you had with us.”

This formerly houseless daughter and single mama had the blessing of sitting down with ten currently houseless SIP hotel residents in San Francisco to record a #RoofLEss radio segment on the impending evictions by Mayor Breed of thousands of SIP residents in less than 10 days, four days before Christmas, in the middle of freezing winter and a global pandemic.

These poverty conversations were made possible thanks to one of the housed allies who was present at POOR Magazine’s Stolen Land Hoarded Resources Tour thru Yelamu(SF) last week where we proposed a #LandBack Proposal.

“I’m born and raised in San Francisco, I’m from the Fillmore, and it gets real rough on these cold streets,” said Anthony about his journey from the streets to the SIP motel rooms. Anthony, like most of the SIP residents, is disabled, Black and an elder. “This concrete not kind to anybody.”  

As each of the skolaz spoke, my bones ached with the pain of my own outsiderness. It’s an odd idea for folks who haven’t tried to stay alive while also sleeping outside, but my PTHD (Post Traumatic Homeless Disorder) comes to me in waves out of nowhere. From literally years of being on the street, trying to live houselessly with mama as a child and then later as an adult with my infant son, post gentriFUKation eviction.

The terror, the bone-crunching cold, the inability to EVER  stop looking behind your back, feel safe, get dry, know where your next meal, dry blanket or hot shower is coming from. These are all unspeakable, almost lost to our human ability to keep on keeping on no matter what. But when you get inside, for the first time in a while, all the SIP motel residents expressed to us, little things like hot running water and a private toilet, and the ability to even think, are huge blessings and some of the important lessons we poverty skolaz teach folks with race and class privilege at PeopleSkool bi-yearly. 

These deep traumas with survival itself is why I constantly shiver to this day, why I can’t ever really get warm and why I sit with my Mama Dee and other poverty skola ancestors at the Homefulness Altar and thank them and Creator and Spirit everyday for this roof that me and my son have which is part of the landless peoples movement we houseless and indigenous people call Homefulness. The same template we proposed on the Stolen Land Tour to UC Hastings and London Breed.

“That 18-month time span gave everyone time to heal some, from the street,” Anthony went on to explain. He was just starting to get his life back, get it together, and now he is really confused by these threatened evictions back on to the street, right before the holidays, 

“How do you sign a contract in the state of California and breach it like that? I do have a speech impediment, but I can get words out, this isn’t legal,” Anthony concluded.

Anthony is right. Not only are these threatened evictions absolutely inhumane, they are illegal. If you sign a contract with anyone, houseless or not, it’s a binding contract. 

“You got people that for the first time in their lives have been able to get their shit together, a warm bed and a roof above our heads, now you gonna see overdoses to be honest, using cause it’s too much pain to live with,” said Nick.

Nick was so right because like the terror of not having access to a roof, recovery from any of the “man’s poisons” is almost impossible when you are struggling to just stay warm, to sleep. It becomes the reason so many of us begin to use in the first place. And then keep using.

“I feel like they took advantage of us, its just not right at all,” said Felicia, a soft-spoken poverty skola who joined the conversation.

“These are contracts and they think of us like garbage, you know, to be thrown out, so that’s why they think they don’t have to honor them.” Myrna, a houseless SIP hotel resident and fierce povertyskola advocate concluded.

No matter whether people believe the antipoor people hater lies about us, the reality is, in the State of California, there is such a thing as tenant rights, and guess what? These folks have lived in the SIP hotels for over 28 days so they have eviction-protection rights and equally importantly, human rights. 

Please join POOR Magazine, House the Bay, Hotels Not Hospitals, The San Francisco Bayview Newspaper and other houseless and formerly houseless povertyskolaz and SIP hotel residents in demanding the SF mayor meet with us to enact the LandBack Proposal and grant ownership to the SIP hotel residents so they can launch their own Homefulness, self-determined project. You can tune in to the Budget Committee of the SF Board of Supervisors on December 9th at 11am and demand the cease and desist of all SIP hotel evictions in a pandemic.  

You can reach Tiny on Twitter @Povertyskola or at her website www.lisatinygraygarcia.com 

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  1. Freakgurl: The Charter is what it is, everything that happened in 2018 was legal under the Charter, and the Board of Supervisors did not find enough wrong with those Charter provisions to propose any amendments to the voters to fix that.

    Breed left room 200 as soon as Farrell was appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The “progs” then ran an anemic campaign, losing to Breed. For some strange reason, Jane Kim remains the darling of the nonprofit “progressives,” even though she’s lost 2 citywide races and then managed Sanders’ 2020 campaign to a CA performance 1/3 worse than 2016.

    You are a political hack, affording every consideration to those in your tribe while holding members of opposition tribes to the highest standards of accountability.

    Breed rolls the “progressive” shills on the Board of Supervisors with surprising regularity. That’s why there are no cuts to SFPD and the POA got its MOU ratified on Tuesday all while there is popular demand for radically reconceptualizing policing.

    Not to worry, money is continually being laundered through poverty nonprofits, so everything is well in the shire.

  2. Born, again you twist facts. Well, actually, you lie through your teeth. The charter anticipated that the President of the Board would temporarily become ACTING Mayor, and as soon as possible, the Board would elect an INTERIM Mayor, who would serve until a new Mayor would be elected by the voters. It did not anticipate that a corrupt mayor would take advantage of a deadlock to not hold an election, and hold office as acting mayor AND president of the board, which would create a serious conflict of interest. The proper course would have been for Breed to EITHER resign from the Board, or withdraw from consideration as mayor. But, proper, honest, right, decent, fair, and legal are not in Breed’s vocabulary. So, she had to be removed kicking and screaming. Instead of accepting that she was wrong, she played the race card.

    No, Breed “rolled no one. She TRIED o take advantage of a deadlock, and got totally pwned.

    One thing you are right about…Breed has NO ethics. She will lie, cheat and steal to get what she wants. Just like Liar Lee, any Twosome Newsom, and the original Slick Willie…

  3. don grant, if the recipient of CAAP is able, they have to perform workfare, so they earn that money, which is snatched back. They no longer have the option to get GA and not reside in some form of shelter, that they are charged for. Now, if they are judged to be unable to work, the are forced to go on SSIP, which still requires that they pay for their housing from their grant, and also that they also apply for SSI. When they receive there SSI, the portion of money they received as a cash grant, about $76 a month is paid to San Francisco. So, they get basically nothing. I’m sure that worms your black little heart.

  4. “We pay for these rooms, Ronnie continued, “I had to agree that $400 dollars of my $480.00 GA check . . . “ but don’t act like these rooms are given to us for “free”

    We pay? Not free? Where does the money for the GA check come from?

  5. The 1996 Charter had provisions where upon the vacancy in the Mayor’s office, the BofS president became acting mayor and retained the position of BofS President. This was no surprise, it was the operating law of the City long before Breed was elected to anything, back when Willie was wiping her ass. Progs thought they had a squeeze play but ended up getting rolled by Breed.

    Why would Breed “do the right thing” according to you and your prog scamster friends? Are you unclear on the concept of adversarial politics?

    Breed only put a few homeless people in hotels, charged them their GA and paid hoteliers whether the rooms were occupied or not. Progressives whined just a few months ago how Breed had the power to not SIP in hotels and there was nothing the Board and hapless progs could do about it.

    No charter amendments for this last election to change any of that because progressives get along just fine as junior partners who don’t want to risk irritating the senior partners. Meanwhile, corruption rages, garbage rates spike (but people who pay garbage are privileged so that is not important, right?) for the low low price of holiday party and slush fund bribes, the transit system is evaporating, murder rate rising, and small biz on the brink.

    The Board of Potted Plants.

  6. You can’t even lie well. Fixing it so she would be acting mayor, and president of the BoS put her in the position where she could control what the BoS did, and then approve it as mayor. It was NOTHING but a power grab. It should have been illegal, but no one thought such a thing would be attempted. When Breed saw that there was no way the BoS would agree on a mayor, she pounced. The right thing to do would have been to either withdraw from consideration as interim mayor, or resign from the BoS. I am sure Ron Conway forbid both. And besides, Breed does what helps her, not what is right. But she underestimated the progressives, and the disgust two moderate board membesr felt for her abuse. So, they formed a pact. The progressives, joined by Jeff Sheehy, booted Breed as acting mayor, and elected Farrell as Interim Mayor. As bad as he was, he was better than Breed as acting mayor, and president of the board.

    And Breed is getting her rather ample ass kicked by the progressives. She was forced to put the homeless in hotels, and is not being stopped from kicking them out. And you keep, desperately, trying to goad the Progressives into acting hastily and potentially losing. When the time comes, Breed will be gone. And you will be out of a job as a shill.

  7. Breed made no power grab. The progs blew it in D5 in 2012 and Breed took the presidency.

    Progs took no steps to fix the charter provisions on mayoral succession since 2012, no steps to fix the charter when Breed refused to enforce the law, and no steps to check corruption even as our garbage rates spike for the low low cost of a DPW staffer holiday party and a slush fund for Nuru.

    Breed is calling the shots, rolling the “progressives” who refuse to fix the structural constraints that keep them a minority faction, dependent upon sucking up to the conservatives.

  8. Nothing happens in this city without Aaron Peskin and the BOS approval. For more than 20 years. Mayors come and go, but Peskin has run the BOS for years.

  9. Gorn, are you ignorant? Or ignorantly dishonest? The progressives moved to stop Breed’s outrageous power grab. She tried to exploit a loophole to hold two offices. She thought she was clever, and was hoist by her own petard. She manage to anger two moderates who joined the progressives in taking her down a notch. Then she arrogantly claimed she was the victim. Keep shilling for Breed. You are just creating evidence of corruption.

  10. Geeklet, I thought that there was a veto-proof progressive super majority that could put measures on the ballot and win most all of them? Didn’t the progressives all vote for Mark Farrell? Did the “progressive” hotel rooms for homeless law legislate that share of cost?

  11. Wait a sec, advocates rolled over for an SIP hotel program that actually charged participants 83% of their GA?

    And the city was paying hoteliers both to house homeless people and for empty rooms?

    I thought housing was a human right, not a share of cost.

    What else about the economic “justice” of this SIP program under the hood was not “socialized” until now?

  12. Gorn, Gorn, Gorn….don’t you realize that 83% charge was created by Gavin Newsom, and perpetuated by Ed Lee, Mark Farrell, and most recently your boss, London Breed. I imagine that County Adult Assistance was a requirement for SIP rooms, just like it is for a shelter bed. That way they can put ’em to work if able. Nothing the so called moderates like more than the sound of the homeless working on the chain gang even if they can’t actually put them in chains.

  13. Advocates rolled over for an SIP hotel program that actually charged participants 83% of their GA?

    What else about the economics of this SIP program under the hood was not “socialized” until now?

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