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Ashland Oregon Community Shelter and Camping Declaration HA-24-12-11

 

By Anthony J. Sanders

sanderstony@live.com

 

The First Presbyterian Church provides a cold weather shelter on Sundays in the winter and when it gets below 20° F and camping is prohibited throughout the Ashland watershed all year long.  The Medford Mission homeless shelter only provides services to men ten days per month, all year round.  Over the course of winter 2010-2011, beginning on Nov. 22, 2010 and running to February 27, 2011, 206 humans, 25 dogs and 1 cat stayed at the First Presbyterian Church cold weather and Sunday shelter in Ashland.  On ten nights, including March 19, 2011, the cold weather shelter opened its doors on days other than Sunday because the weather had been predicted to get below 20ş Fahrenheit.  27 guests on Nov. 25, 2010 were the most to attend any night.  Average attendance was 9 guests.  So far in Winter 2011-2012, as of Dec. 11 the shelter has been open every Sunday and although it has been bitterly cold and icy from the moist inversion there have not been any nights below 20ş Fahrenheit, but one false alarm.  On Nov. 20 two people signed in but no one stayed.  The highest attendance was 17 on Dec. 4 or 5, the record says only Dec. 5, which a Monday.  So far in the winter of 2011-2012 average attendees are about 8.  A city that does not provide adequate shelters for the destitute cannot constitutionally enforce against them a law prohibiting sitting, lying or sleeping in public places  Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2006).  Ashland needs to come up with a 20 year commitment to sustain a winter homeless shelters and camping in Lithia Park to help qualify the Rogue Valley for an estimated $20,000 annually in grants and tax-credits for 75% of the costs of acquiring new homeless shelters under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act at 42USC(119)(IV)(C)§11383. 

 

Vacant Ashland Daily Tidings Building on Siskiyou Blvd.

 

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Credit: Tony Sanders HA-22-12-11


When I bought a subscription to Ashland Daily Tidings for Christmas I learned that as of Dec. 13, 2011 the Ashland Daily Tidings office, across Siskiyou Blvd. from the First Presbyterian Church, had relocated to an office in Medford.  The Ashland Daily Tidings finally sold out the City of Ashland to work for the big city.  Maybe we can occupy the Ashland Daily Tidings building this winter and the National Guard base the next few years?  The community is still grieving the slaying of David Grubbs a 23 year old grocer on Saturday November 26 as reported in the fourth issue of the Ashland Free Press, the Black Friday Edition, the fifth murder in nine years.  We might be able to forgive a year’s property tax on the vacant building we stay in and pay for the utilities we use in the winter.  I hope a number of reporters still live and can afford to pay property taxes in Ashland.  The Ashland Daily Tidings should write an article creating an Ashland Homeless Shelter in the newly vacant Ashland Daily Tribune building this winter and next winter until the property is sold by Pulver & Leever Real Estate Company 541-773-5391.  

 

Aaron Fletcher wrote the working title Community Shelter Houses, dated September 4, 2011, that is signed by 18 people "interested in volunteering at least 1 hour of neighborhood service to have 24 hour access to a shelter styled house".  He secured a donor but went home to Kansas City for the holidays and has asked us to find the building. Community shelter houses reads:

 

Working title: Community Shelter Houses by Aaron Fletcher on September 4, 2011, is signed by 18 people "interested in volunteering at least 1 hour of neighborhood service to have 24 hour access to a shelter styled house" (Fletcher ’11).

 

Issue: The Ashland homeless do not have a place where they can legally sleep each night.  The homeless also do not have an organized avenue for participating positively in the community. 

 

Solution: An inexpensive solution to this problem is to create a homeless shelter style house(s).  Individuals would be required to participate in neighborhood community service for at least 1 hour each day that they stay at a house.  Some possibilities for neighborhood community services are:

 

-volunteer park duties such as dog waste cleanup

-neighborhood beautification

-downtown street sweeping

-litter cleanup

-food gardening

-workshops (wild edible walks, wilderness survival, etc.)

-other unique serves that the individuals would be able to provide.

 

Each night this house would be managed by 5 long-term participants in the program, who depend on the success of the house.  All participants would sing a document stating their compliance with the house rules.  This project has already acquired low sound decibel monitor devices that would warn participants that they are violating the unacceptable noise level rule at the house.  The houses would also enforce a strict drug and alcohol-free policy.

 

Funding: There are two ways in which a house would be acquired;

 

A) a house is donated for a period of time by either churches, community members or the city itself

B) a house is rented with donated funds

 

Donated funds would be generated through a variety of channels;

 

-the "downtown homeless collection boxes" that the city council has proposed

- people and businesses in the community who appreciate the services we provide

-fund-raising tables outside area businesses

-rummage sale benefits (Ashland's homeless have already raised $400 through our first benefit)

-sales from the homeless benefit space at the Artists' Emporium where local artists and homeless can donate their arts and crafts to be sold

-other yet-to be-determined mechanisms

 

A publicly -viewable bank account would be setup so that anyone can view what the donated funds are used for.  All extra funds will go toward the acquisition of subsequent houses (Fletcher ’11).

 

Aaron and Sam at the First Presbyterian Church Cold-Weather Shelter

 

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Credit: Aaron Fletcher and Sam HA-11-12-11

 

Aaron Fletcher and his dog Sam have gone home to Kansas City for the holidays.  Aaron wears a small copper water purification straw he created around his neck and prints glossy Occupy dollar bills with participatory democracy directions or edible flora and fauna, on the back, using the public library printer.  When homeless shelters, domestic violence programs, food banks, and seek to be endowed, they give the message that they have ceased trying to eradicate the problems they were formed to solve, and that abused, hungry and homeless people are a permanent feature of our society.  Organizations working for a just society must maintain the idea that they will be able to address the root cause of social problems and eventually eliminate the problem they are focused on.  In the situations in which the forecast of more of the same will lead to ruin, the people running the organization have no choice but to change.  But what kind of change, how fast they can change, who is going to lead the change, and, above all, how the change can be made permanent, are extremely serious considerations and will need careful thought and appropriate action.  Establish a crisis task force.  A group of three to five people who will act as “mission control” for the next two months.  Their job is short-term but will require a fairly intense time commitment.  If the organization has staff, a staff person should be on the task force, at least one member should be from the board, and at least one should be an “at-large” person with no other affiliation in the group except a commitment to the cause. Damage control. When you are raising enough money to get you through the most immediate crisis, you must begin planning as soon as you can for strategies to get you through the next six months to one year.  Otherwise, you are simply a group in remission from a terminal condition, rather than an organization on the mend. For most organizations, the time right after the immediate crisis is over is the hardest. After your organization gest through the immediate crisis, it needs friends of the longer-term, lower-key variety.  There is, of course, some overlap between one group and another, and if you haven’t burned out your volunteers completely during the emergency, many of them will convert to the long-term types that you need.  It is at this point that your crisis team dissolves (Klein '09: 146, 150, 155, 176, 189, 190).  I hope to have this article done by Homeless committee every other Thursday meeting at the Peace Church on Thursday Dec. 29.   Maybe I can trade this work for the $100 one time use of the Peace Church Visa card to resupply necessary antibiotics?

 

The second issue of the Ashland Free Press: Ashland’s Independent Newspaper: Lessons Learned and Bridges Burned: Occupy Ashland Week 3 of October 24, 2011 cites the Ashland Municipal Code Section 10.46 Prohibited Camping which defines at ‘10.46.010 A. Unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions will apply: A. “To camp” means to set up or to remain in or at a campsite. B,. “Campsite” means any place where bedding, sleeping bags, or other material used for bedding purposes, or any stove or fire is placed, established, or maintained for the purpose of maintaining a temporary place to live, whether or not such place incorporates the use of any tent, lean-to, shack, or any other structure, or any vehicle or part thereof. 10.46.020 Camping Prohibited; No person shall camp in or upon any sidewalk, street, alley, lane, public right-of-way, park , or any other publicly-owned property or under any bridge or viaduct, unless otherwise specifically authorized by this code, by the owner of the property, or by emergency declaration under AMC 2.62.030. Camping prohibited is a Class IVA violation.  10.46.030 Sleeping on Benches or within Doorways prohibited; No person shall sleep on public benches between the hours of 9:00 pm and 8:00 am. Sleeping on benches is a Class IV violation’.  In 2008 the Southern Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued the ban was unconstitutional and petitioned for a rewrite of the ordinance.  Several amendments were offered to the city of Ashland which voted to ignore them.  The lead homeless advocate for the past several years left town shortly after high profile negotiations at SOU in Spring of 2011 that encouraged private partnerships in which people would perform work for the landlord in exchange for the right to camp on private land, but fell short of repealing the camping ban.  In response to dozens of homeless activists and community organizers joining with Ashland’s Homelessness Taskforce to petition city council for more resources to aid the local homeless.  The city has agreed to make a Porto-potty available for demonstrators to use at night.  The law, as written, has yet to be challenged in the Court system.  If the Courts allow the Mt. Ashland ski expansion is to go forward they must surely concede to allow camping in beautiful Lithia Park, on the Lithia Park/ Mt. Ashland watershed, perhaps with a winter and summer tent city, close to the warmth of town in the winter, and far from the maddening crowds in summer, perhaps at the swimming hole, for only the $1,000 a year cost of a Porto-potty, as opposed to the estimated $5,000 costs in extra vandalism that would be caused by a 24 occupation, that could be more easily defrayed by the community Act II HA-11-11-11

 

Ashland Population Statistics, 2010

 

Quick Facts

Ashland

Oregon

Quick Facts

Ashland

Oregon

Population 2010

20,078

3,831,074

Housing units, 2010

10,455

1,675,562

Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010

2.8%

12.0%

Homeownership rate, 2005-2009

51.1%

64.3%

Population, 2000

19,522

3,421,399

Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2005-2009

25.4%

23.3%

Persons under 5 years, percent, 2010

3.5%

6.2%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2005-2009

$393,300

$244,200

Persons under 18 years, percent, 2010

15.9%

22.6%

Households, 2005-2009

9,650

1,464,196

Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2010

17.6%

13.9%

Persons per household, 2005-2009

2.09

2.49

Female persons, percent, 2010

53.9%

50.5%

Per capita money income in past 12 months (2009 dollars) 2005-2009

$26,918

$25,893

White persons, percent, 2010

90.3%

83.6%

Median household income 2005-2009

$38,436

$49,033

Black persons, percent, 2010

1.1%

1.8%

People of all ages in poverty - percent, 2005-2007

18.3%

13.6%

American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2010

0.9%

1.4%

Total number of firms, 2007

3,725

348,154

Asian persons, percent, 2010

2.1%

3.7%

Black-owned firms, percent, 2007

N/A

1.2%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2010

0.3%

0.3%

American Indian and Alaska Native owned firms, percent, 2007

N/A

1.2%

Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2010

4.0%

3.8%

Asian-owned firms, percent, 2007

N/A

3.6%

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2010

5.1%

11.7%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander owned firms, percent, 2007

N/A

0.2%

White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2010

87.4%

78.5%

Hispanic-owned firms, percent, 2007

3.7%

3.3%

Living in same house 1 year & over, 2005-2009

70.9%

80.7%

Women-owned firms, percent, 2007

35.2%

29.8%

Foreign born persons, percent, 2005-2009

5.2%

9.5%

Manufacturer shipments, 2007 ($1000)

N/A

66,880,653

Language other than English spoken at home, pct age 5+, 2005-2009

9.4%

14.0%

Merchant wholesaler sales, 2007 ($1000)

92,911

51,910,777

High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, 2005-2009

95.6%

88.3%

Retail sales, 2007 ($1000)

224,419

50,370,919

Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+, 2005-2009

53.0%

28.3%

Retail sales per capita, 2007

$10,655

$13,494

Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16+, 2005-2009

14.6

22.1

Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000)

74,045

7,555,764

Land area in square miles, 2010

6.59

95,988.01

Persons per square mile, 2010

3,047.2

39.9

Jackson County Population

203,206

3,831,074

Jackson County Population Change from 2000

12.1%

12.0%

Source: US Census State and County Quick Facts 2010

 

The population in Ashland has only increased 2.8 since 2000 while Oregon has grown 12 percent in the same amount of time.  Camping is not allowed on the Ashland watershed so it is unlikely the denizens are counted.  We have brokered a Mt. Ashland ski development plan with the Mt. Ashland Defenders of the watershed provided City Council is both fiscally responsible for the expansion and $600,000 dredging of the drinking water reservoir and socially responsible for re-opening Lithia Park to a winter camp close to town and summer camp at the swimming hole as demanded in Act II Occupy Ashland Watershed of the Occupy Ashland Report on Occupy Wall St. HA-11-11-11.  There are more people over 65 than under 18 in Ashland and the opposite in Oregon.  Ashland is a retirement community for creative people fleeing the big city and is a big tourist destination because of the world famous Oregon Shakespeare festival and can get more rural with only a little effort.  The yards, trails and Main St. are very nicely maintained and there is not much room for more development except in the underdeveloped Siskiyou mountains. In Ashland housing prices have a very high median value of $393,300, a whopping $149,000, 61percent, more than the state median of $244,200.  As a result homeownership is only 51.1 percent, 13.2 percent less than 64.3 percent in the rest of the state. Although the median per capita income of $26,918 is $1,025, 4 percent, more than the state average of $25,893 there are a lot of rich people with little money to share after beautifully landscaping their home, with the 18.3 percent of the Ashland population who are poor compared with 13.6 in the rest of Oregon.  The average number of people in a household in Ashland is 2.09, 19 percent smaller than 2.49 in the rest of the state.  Median household income is $38,436, $10,597, 22 percent, less than the state average of $49,033.  There have been some significant changes in the faces of homelessness in the Rogue Valley.  The number of homeless households with two parents and at least one child has increased from 2.9 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2010.  The percentage of homeless unaccompanied youth decreased from 10.2 percent in 2005 to 2 percent in 2010.  The percentage of homeless females increased from 25.5 percent in 2009 to 49 percent in 2010.  The percentage of the homeless staying with friends and family has increased from 17.2 percent in 2009 to 44.5 percent in 2010.  The percentage of homeless staying on the street has decreased from 29.7 percent in 2009 to 9.9 percent in 2010. Not being able to afford rent has remained the primary cause of homelessness since 2007.  The percentage of homeless veterans has increased from 11.7 percent in 2005 to 49.4 percent in 2009  In the warmer months camping is the only way to save money with a fixed income and far healthier than staying in an unaffordable home.  From spring to fall thousands of campers pass through Ashland and a core group of maybe 20 camps all year long.

 

Ashland Creek tumbles down a forested canyon from the distant skyline of the Siskiyou mountains.  At the head of that canyon Mt. Ashland thrusts some 7,500 feet into the sky, towering over the foothills and the small town of Ashland.  In the heart of the town is Lithia Park, 100 acres of wooded places and meandering woodland paths that follow Ashland Creek for two miles from the Plaza to the chilly waters of the Reservoir.  Lithia Park unfolds out of the Plaza.  The world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s theatre merges with the meticulously landscaped park.  One walks past Meyer Memorial Lake and the green where the annual Feast of the Tribe of Will heralds the official opening of the Festival’s summer season.  If you follow the path upstream beyond the playground you will come to a bandshell where the Ashland City Band performs on warm summer evenings.  There are well-used tennis courts and group picnic areas including the gazebo where the Church without Walls sups for their singing on Sunday and Comack on Thursday, both at 4 p.  Lithia Park is city-owned, one of the few such parks in the state to be supported by a separate city tax levy.  Through the years many generous gifts have made possible much of its development.  In 1982 Litha Park was included on the National Register of Historic Places as an outstanding example of distinctive American landscape architecture.  The park is under the control and management of an elected five-member Park Commission and the care of the Ashland Park and Recreation Department’s maintenance staff (O’harra et al ’86).

 

Ashland began where the entrance to Lithia Park faces the Plaza.  The men who filed Donation Land Claims here in 1852 wanted to build a “home town”, a reservation for whites competitive with the Table Rocks Reservation for the Takelma Tribes created by Treaty in 1852 that was irreparably broken in 1854 as reparated in A Treaty of Freedom with the Rogue River Tribes: Table Rocks Wilderness Camping Powwow Petition HA-12-5-11 that is available to the Oregon Governor for the purpose of designating Table Rocks a National Monument and $5 a night wilderness camping box with a sign that says “Native Americans and Indigents camp free”, $5 S.W.A.T. obstacle training and $5 Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Powwow on Table Rocks.  A place where the gold miners and the settlers who were coming with families could find lumber and equipment, supplies and food, schools, churches – a community life.  Ashland Creek made all of this possible.  The hilltop above Meyer Memorial Lake, where the Shakespearean Festival complex now stands, and the flat grassy space between the lake and the playground became the first public park in Ashland because of Chautauqua, a nationwide travelling program of lectures, seminars and entertainment that originated at Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York.  Ashland was 40 years old in 1892, the year the Southern Oregon Chautauqua Association was formed during a Methodist camp meeting near Central Point.  The Chautauqua promise was that “outside interest would awaken the sentiments and intellect of the people”.  It offered speakers on current events, concerts, classes in literature, history, biology, nature study, bible study, exercise, economic problems and roundtable discussions.  The Southern Oregon Chautauqua Association encouraged by its Ashland members, decided that Ashland would be a better location than Central Point for the annual two-week summer session.  At the time the town of 1,800 people ensured a crowd, Ashland had electric lights, city water, hotel accommodations, a site for an assembly building on a wooded hillside sloping up from the center of town, and a shady place nearby where families camp on the banks of the a stream (O’harra et al ’86).

 

Ducks Grazing Where Chautauqua Association Camped

 

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Credit: Tony Sanders HA-19-11-11

 

Creation of Lithia Park was presented to the voters as a city charter amendment and on December 15, 1908, the measure carried, 607 to 138.  All city-owned property bordering Ashland Creek from the Plaza to the Forest Reserve, excluding streets, alleys, the pest house (where people with communicable diseases were isolated), the rock quarry, and a number of parcels that remained in private ownership, was dedicated forever for park purposes.  A separate tax levy for parks was approved (maximum two mills) and authority for control and management was given to a separate Park Commission.  At the direction of the new Park Commissioner, rhododendrons and azaleas were planted in 1910, and playground equipment was installed in 1911. The public admired the beauty of Ashland’s new “front yard” and referred to it as the city park, but continued to use the original Chautauqua Park, where the Ladies Chautauqua Club carried the expenses for gatherings.  The free auto camp developed by the Park Commission was located at the present Parks and Recreations Department official site, opened and drew many tourists to Ashland.  Its opening coincided with the spread of paved highways throughout the region, and it was one of the first such facilities on the West Coast to cater to travelers.  “Every tourist that camps here leaves an enthusiastic booster for Ashland”, reported the tidings, full of praise and complimentary comments about the campground”.  The roadway was included, as it was in Golden Gate Park, because the park was to be enjoyed form a car as well as by those who chose to walk.  A turnabout, just below where the bandshell now stands provided the formal entrance to the Lithia Springs Park in 1915.   During the 1920s, the Park Commission acquired additional land adjacent to the free auto camp, improved camping facilities and built a community house, now occupied by the Parks and Recreation Department office, and five cabins, one of the original cottages can be seen next to the office, which tourists could rent.  The camp provided an income of about $800 a month (O’harra et al ’86).  Relations with the campers soured during the sixties when respectable park goers did not find the alternative lifestyles of the hippies acceptable at about the time they began issuing lift tickets to the Mt. Ashland ski resort in 1963.  And in recent memory camping has been prohibited throughout the Ashland Watershed.  This prohibition of camping is however unconstitutional under the eight amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment and must either be overturned in every case or properly used to issue an emergency declaration granting campers use of the swimming hole. 

 

The Park Commission established several principles to protect Lithia Park: there should be no new structures, money for maintenance must be assured, and there should be no commercial enterprises.  Of primary concern was finding a way to maintain a passive park in a wilderness setting when the area was visited by half a million people each year (O’harra et al ’86).  Would a winter homeless shelter and summer camp by the swimming hole not leave enough time for the grass roots to grow?  Ashland should recuse the ACLU and grant an emergency declaration to allow camping at the swimming hole in Lithia Park under AMC 2.62.030.  With a winter homeless shelter in Ashland and homeless shelter expansion in Medford, to provide 24-7 shelter all month, in my opinion the Rogue Valley climate would meet the minimal standards for shelter needed to qualify for $20,000 annually in grants for 75% of the costs of acquiring new homeless shelters under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act  42USC(119)(IV)(C)§11383 .  A city that does not provide adequate shelters for the destitute cannot constitutionally enforce against them a law prohibiting sitting, lying or sleeping in public places under Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d. 

 

Swimming Hole from the Road

 

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Credit: Tony Sanders HA-19-11-11

 

In Western societies, homeless people historically have been punished for their economic disadvantage, and have consistently been subjected to unfavorable treatment, such as restrictions on physical mobility or liberties, particularly with the advent of “workhouses,” and brutal punishments have been meted out to people not tied to a particular place. Laws were passed during the 14th century to keep laborers tied to their masters during times of labor shortage. By the 16th century, however, they had been applied more generally against the homeless. An English variant, for example, required that any arrested “idle person” found guilty of vagrancy should be whipped in the marketplace until he was bloody.  Examples of the criminalization of homelessness also start to appear by the 18th century in North America, one of the forerunners being New York’s anti-transient poor law. In Williams v. Fears, 179 U.S. 270, 274 (1900) the Supreme Court held, "an individual's decision to remain in a public place of his choice is a part of his liberty". 

 

Cities across the United States have for generations subjected the poor to the criminal law, thus leaving them to the mercies of the police. This includes targeting homeless persons by making it illegal to perform life-sustaining activities in public, such as sleeping or camping, eating, sitting, and begging. In a survey of 224 cities, the National Conference of Mayors found: (1) Only 21% prohibit begging citywide, and 43% in particular public places; (2) 16% prohibit “loitering” citywide, 39% prohibit loitering in particular public areas, and 27% prohibit sitting/lying in certain public places; (3) Only 16% had citywide prohibitions on camping, and 28% on camping in particular public places (Moss et al ’08).  It would seem that Ashland’s prohibited camping ordinance is both cruel and unusual.  Homeless adults already have an age-adjusted mortality rate nearly four times that of the general population.  This may or may not include people label themselves as “campers”.  The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, in a recent study, estimated that there are approximately 3.5 million people in the United States, 1.35 million of them children, who are likely to experience homelessness in the course of any given year.  About 700,000 live on the streets or in shelters, but federal dollars pay for only 170,000 beds. The method of taking census of the homeless is questioned (Moss et al ’08) and could account better for people who “camp on public land”.

 

The law of Oregon sets limits on how far counties and cities can go in regulating camping by the homeless. ORS 203.077 requires all municipalities and counties to: (1) “Develop a policy that recognizes the social nature of the problem of homeless individuals camping on public property;” and (2) “Implement the policy as developed, to ensure the most humane treatment for removal of homeless individuals from camping sites on public property.” ORS 203.079 provides specific requirements that must be included in the policies. ORS 203.082 provides that churches and religious institutions should be allowed to provide shelter for the homeless, particularly for sleeping in the car, for several Ashland’s current ordinances must be brought into compliance with all of those requirements.  Ashland needs to allow free camping while the community pulls together to create a homeless shelter.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the United States is a signatory, provides: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control (Moss et al ’08). 

 

Camp Blackberry in the Winter

 

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Credit: Tony Sanders HA-5-12-11

 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, whose jurisdiction includes Oregon, declared that a city that does not provide adequate shelters for the destitute cannot constitutionally enforce against them a law prohibiting sitting, lying or sleeping in public places. Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2006), vacated as moot, 505 F.3d 106 (9th Cir.2007). The Jones opinion concluded that the anti-sleeping ordinance, as applied to homeless persons, violated the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments.” Over time, constitutional law has evolved to distinguish between voluntary conduct, which may be deemed criminal, and involuntary conduct, which, like status, cannot be deemed criminal.  As the 9th Circuit stated in Jones, “the conduct at issue here is involuntary and inseparable from status – they are one and the same, given that human beings are biologically compelled to rest, whether by sitting, lying or sleeping.  Nor may the state criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless -- namely sitting, lying, or sleeping on the streets”.  The Jones Settlement Agreement implements these principles with three key features: First, it provides that the…ordinance shall not be enforced between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. until a substantial number of additional permanent supportive housing units are constructed within the city. Second, it provides that the ordinance may be enforced at any and all times at certain locations, e.g. within 10 feet of a driveway or loading dock. Third, it provides that no person shall be arrested for a violation of the ordinance unless the person has first received a warning…and has been given a reasonable time to move (Moss et al ’08).

 

The Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon called upon the City of Ashland to amend its "Prohibited Camping" ordinance from one that punishes poverty and homelessness into one that provides the city to provide housing for the homeless in their report titled Decriminalizing Poverty: Reform of Ashland’s Camping Ordinance.  So far the city has not complied.  According to the Ashland Police Department, at least 100 citations have been issued since 2003 for violation of the Ashland Prohibited Camping ordinance. Yet currently, there is no operating housing or shelter for the homeless in Ashland.  In a report released on October 13, 2008, the Southern Oregon Chapter calls on the Ashland City Council to make the specific revisions to the Prohibited Camping Ordinance, Municipal Code Section 10.46, and to the related "Sleeping Prohibited" ordinance, Section 10.68.230.  The report found that Ashland’s Prohibited Camping ordinance, Municipal Code Section 10.46, violates United Nations Resolution 217A by punishing homeless persons for sleeping or camping in public places, rather than providing shelter for them. It violates Oregon’s state law, ORS 203.077, 203.079 and 203.082  by not “recognizing the social nature of the problem,” by not requiring camp closing notices to be posted in Spanish as well as English, by requiring confiscated property to be stored for only 14 days instead of the State law required 30 days, and by not restricting the issuance of citations within 200 feet of the required notice and within 2 hours before or after the posting of a camp closing notice (Moss et al ’08).  Although it would be nicer if City Council issued an emergency declaration under AMC 2.62.030 than went through such great lengths to amend the code, without even trying to issue the emergency declaration “summer camp at the swimming hole”, the ACLU demands the camping ordinance be amended, and we agree to the principle, but not the regulation, as follows.

 

Revision 1: Section 10.46.020 ("Camping Prohibited") should be amended to provide that, except as set forth in Section 10.46.030, the prohibitions in this ordinance shall not apply between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., unless and until at least 50 units of permanent supportive housing are created within the City of Ashland, at least 50 percent of which are centrally located.  These units must be created for current or chronically homeless persons.

Revision 2: Section 10.46.030 ("Sleeping on Benches or Within Doorways Prohibited") should be amended to eliminate present Subsections A and B, and to provide that camping and sleeping shall be prohibited within 10 feet of any operational and usable entrance, exit, driveway or loading dock.

Revision 3: Section 10.46.040 ("Removal of Campsite") should be amended to provide that:  (a) it shall not be enforced except under the terms of amended Sections 10.46.020 and 10.46.030, above; (b) the notice to close a camp site must be posted at least 48 hours, instead of only 24 hours in advance, and must be in Spanish as well as English; (c) arrests may not be made and citations may not be issued within 200 feet of a campsite nor within 2 hours before or after the posting of a closing notice; and (d) confiscated property must be stored for at least 60 days.

Revision 4: Section 10.46.050 ("Penalties") should be amended to lower the offense in Subsection A to a "violation,"  to correct the erroneous reference to Section 1.08.010, and to correct the next to last word in Subsection B from "rebuttal" to "rebuttable."

 

Sheltered and Unsheltered Homeless Persons in Different Seasons 2005

 

 

April 30, 2005

Day in March 2005

Day in Jan. 2005

Sheltered Homeless Persons

313,722

334,744

415,366

Un Sheltered Homeless Persons

440,000

415,000

338,781

Total Homeless Persons

753,722

749,744

754,147

Source: HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress February 2007

 

On February 28, 2007 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a report to Congress on homelessness in America. The report included both a “point-in-time” count, which measures the number of homeless individuals on a given night, as well as a count collected over a three month period using the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS). HUD reported that on any given night an estimated 754,000 persons will experience homelessness and between 330,000 and 415,000 will stay at a homeless shelter or transitional housing throughout the U.S. depending upon the season. This results in about 300,000 more people then shelter beds in the U.S.  A collaborative applicant is an entity that serves as the applicant for project sponsors who jointly submit a single application for a grant, in an amount not to exceed $200,000-$400,000, for the acquisition, rehabilitation, or acquisition and rehabilitation, of an existing structure (including a small commercial property or office space) to provide supportive housing other than emergency shelter or to provide supportive services for homeless people; and for not more than 75% of annual operating costs may be made under McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act at 42USC(119)IVC§11383. 

 

Houses acquired or rehabilitated under this act must be committed to the care of homeless persons for a period of not less than 20 years.  Supportive housing may be transitional housing of not more than 24 months or permanent housing for people with disabilities.   The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall, on a quarterly basis, request information from each landholding agency regarding Federal public buildings and other Federal real properties (including fixtures) that are excess property or surplus property or that are described as unutilized or underutilized and shall identify which of those buildings and other properties are suitable for use to assist the homeless.  The Secretary shall provide assistance directly to a jurisdiction only if the jurisdiction submits a comprehensive housing affordability strategy.

Over a five-year period, about 2-3 percent of the U.S. population (5-8 million people) will experience at least one night of homelessness. For the great majority of these people, the experience is short and often caused by a natural disaster, a house fire, or a community evacuation.  A much smaller group, perhaps as many as 500,000 people, have greater difficulty ending their homelessness.  Most homeless people about 80%, exit from homelessness within about 2-3 weeks. They often have more personal, social, and economic resources to draw on than people who are homeless for longer periods of time. About 10% are homeless for up to two months, with housing availability and affordability adding to the time they are homeless. Another group of about 10% is homeless on a chronic, protracted basis-as long as 7-8 months in a two-year period. Disabilities associated with mental illnesses and substance use are common. On any given night, this group can account for up to 50% of those seeking emergency shelter. In 1996, an estimated 637,000 adults were homeless in a given week. In the same year, an estimated 2.1 million adults were homeless over the course of a year. These numbers increase dramatically when children are included, to 842,000 and 3.5 million, respectively. A quarter of homeless are children.  There are not many elderly people probably because of the shortened life expectancy of chronically homeless individuals. The share of all homeless people that are chronically homeless is much smaller (23 percent or 169,879 persons). The fact that there has been no increase in homelessness although the national population has increased 31 million can be interpreted as an accomplishment.  The reasons why people become homeless are as varied and complex as the people themselves. Several structural factors contribute greatly to homelessness.

 

Poverty. People who are homeless are the poorest of the poor. In 1996, the median monthly income for people who were homeless was $300, only 44% of the Federal poverty level for a single adult.  Decreases in the numbers of manufacturing and industrial jobs combined with a decline in the real value of minimum wage by 18% between 1979 and 1997 have left significant numbers of people without a livable income.

 

Housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that there are five million households in the U.S. with incomes below 50% of the local median who pay more than half of their income for rent or live in severely substandard housing. This is worsened by a decline in the number of housing units affordable to extremely low income households by 5% since 1991, a loss of over 370,000 units. Federal rental assistance has not been able to bridge the gap; the average wait for Section 8 rental assistance is now 28 months. 

 

Disability. People with disabilities who are unable to work and must rely on entitlements such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can find it virtually impossible to find affordable housing. People receiving Federal SSI benefits, which were $545 per month in 2002, cannot cover the cost of an efficiency or one-bedroom apartment in any major housing market in the country.

As of early 2005, there were approximately 438,300 emergency and transitional year-round beds nationwide. The inventory is distributed nearly equally among emergency shelters (about 217,900 beds) and transitional housing (approximately 220,400 beds). The mix of available year-round beds is also evenly distributed across household types, with about 216,000 beds for persons in families (49 percent) and 222,400 beds for individuals (51 percent).  Since 1996, the overall inventory of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing beds has increased from 607,700 to 647,000, a six percent increase in ten years. The increase in beds reflects a 35 percent decrease in the number of emergency beds and dramatic increases in the numbers of transitional and permanent supportive housing programs and beds. Transitional housing beds increased by 38 percent, and permanent supportive housing beds by 83 percent during that period.

 

In 1984, HUD conducted the first federal attempt to describe the nation’s capacity to shelter homeless persons and concluded that there were approximately 100,000 shelter beds in about 1,900 shelters.2 HUD conducted a second national survey of shelter supply in the summer of 1988 and estimated that the nation’s capacity to shelter homeless persons was 275,000 beds in 5,400 shelters.  In total there are about 19,500 homeless residential programs and 647,000 beds in the current inventory, compared to 15,900 programs and 607,700 beds in 1996.  By 2005 residential programs redefined themselves, so that emergency shelters become transitional (or permanent) housing programs. It is possible that some of the 3,400 emergency shelters and 115,600 emergency beds that disappeared between 1996 and 2005 became part of the 3,000 transitional housing programs and 60,200 transitional beds, or the 4,000 permanent housing programs and 94,700 permanent beds that were gained during this same period.

 

Change in National Capacity to House Homeless Persons 1996-2005

 

 

1996

2005

Change

% Change

Total Number of Programs

15,900

19,500

3,600

23%

Emergency Shelters

9,600

6,200

-3,400

-35%

Transitional Housing

4,400

7,400

3,000

68%

Permanent Housing

1,900

5,900

4,000

211%

Total Bed Capacity

607,700

647,000

39,300

6%

Emergency Shelters

333,500

217,900

-115,600

-35%

Transitional Housing

160,200

220,400

60,200

38%

Permanent Housing

114,000

208,700

94,700

83%

Source: HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress February 2007

 

It can be estimated that 3,000-5,000 emergency homeless shelters with 20 to 50 beds are needed to make up for the loss of 115,000 beds between 1996 and 2005.  Roughly one new emergency shelter is needed in every county to make up the loss in the past decade.  Another 5,000 shelters are needed for Occupy movements around the nation.  It seems that the economic interests of the homeless people themselves for longer term and nicer transitional and permanent housing and the availability of financing for mental health shelters and natural accumulation of furniture has caused emergency shelters to shift to longer term transitional and permanent housing.  From the perspective of the homeless most new investment should go into new emergency homeless shelters under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2007.  Maybe Occupy can squat 10,000 new homeless shelters grants in the USA in 2012.  The USA should spend around $1 per capita per year for emergency shelters.

 

Shane Jolly, a homeless man known as “Gone” by his friends, died at the Ashland Plaza at 8:30 pm on Christmas Eve.  At the Peace Church breakfast we decided to host a candlelight vigil at the Plaza on New Year's Eve.  The police man at the David Grubbs memorial on the bike path, removing the journal I had not yet inscribed a Psalm of David in, said "the medical examiner determined the cause of death to be choking on meat or his own vomit".  Autopsies are only performed in 5% of deaths in the United States (Sanders ’11). Gone had been heard a month before saying that he was "going to die" and he may have had a pre-existing medical condition for which we demand an autopsy.  The City of Ashland must pay for the autopsy and funeral arrangements as compensation for the false arrest and spate of $1,000 tickets the days right before Gone died.  I want to know why the homeless are reputed to have shorter life expectancies than other people although the home is so much more homicidal than camping in my own experience.  We ask that the Ashland Daily Tidings make public the findings on Shane Jolly’s death certificate, request that an autopsy be performed and communicate with the family and funeral directors regarding the body and effects of the deceased under 24USC(10)§420 as cited in Art. 14 of CHANGE.  Aether reports that the night sergeant at the Ashland police department called him back to inform the public that the case is now being handled by the medical examiner who is under the Jackson County Sheriff who is in contact with next-of-kin.  Aether is going to talk to the Sheriff and release this document to the next of kin. A will or other instrument of a testamentary nature involving property rights shall be promptly delivered, upon the death, to the proper court of record.  It is recommended the decedent's property, in equal pro-rata shares to the highest following categories of identified survivors (listed in the order of precedence indicated) under 24USC(10)§420:

         

1. The surviving spouse or legal representative.

2. The children of the deceased.

3. The parents of the deceased.

4. The siblings of the deceased.

5. The next-of-kin of the deceased.

 

At the Peace Church breakfast I felt like Gone had died young, at 41, so that we might live.  There were two people who were with Gone on the Plaza when he started choking at 8:12 pm amongst friends by the menorah displayed on the Ashland Plaza. Gone was known around Ashland for flying his “Need Weed” sign. The day of his death he had been drinking beer around the Plaza with a new and special "Hookers and Drugs" sign that he joyously Jested with the townsfolk with. After flying for a while he came stumbling up pointing at his throat before he collapsed at Majik’s the feet of one of the attendees of the breakfast.  The other attendee, named Stash, a firefighter who had lost three quarters of his brigade, about 11 people, to a wildfire, several years ago, before going homeless, performed the Heimlich maneuver.  The police arrived quickly and Gone was put in a stretcher and was taken away in an ambulance.  Stashe says, “Gone died after I had restored breathing because the ambulance put him on the stretcher on his back and he continued choking which probably caused his passing”.  A caregiving textbook does say that people should lay on their side (Bridges ’98).  Majik and Aether went to the Ashland Community hospital around 12:30 am where they were informed that he was dead.  Majik WiZz says, “earlier the day Don died at my feet he told me that he had just been given two $1,000 tickets over the past few days”.

 

Gone is said to be from New Hampshire and was born in Wales, United Kingdom.  He did not have an accent, was a big American football fan, but was such a friendly drunk he must have come to America from the Old World.  He had hiked the Pacific Crest trail twice.  When I met him on the Plaza with Occupy he had a small attractively curved didgeridoo, he called his shofar, strapped to his back, he had been drinking and although it couldn't have been much over freezing he was barefoot and shirtless all night.  When in Ashland Gone usually slept alone on the railroad tracks without a tent.  The second time I got to spend time with Gone he was still wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  He had just gotten back from clashing with the police at Occupy Portland and had gotten arrested on the plaza in Ashland for drinking and driving although he was hundreds of yards from his car.  When in the overnight drunk tank, they dropped the charges, but lost his shofar.  Although the drunk tank had printed Gone a very nice ID bracelet they claim to have accidentally given his shofar to someone with the same name from a different state.  After he was released someone had given him several hits of acid and weed and some friends and I went with him to the liquor store and we drank together at Evo's gazebo after dark.  For me, it was one of about ten drinks in 2011.  The third time I talked with Gone was at the Market of Choice where I was resisting the temptation, while my sister bought some pineapple muffins for Grampa.  A woman had taken Gone to Goodwill and bought him a down vest but he was still in shorts.  The fourth or fifth time I talked with Gone he was walking past the Food Co-op, it was snowing and he was carrying a big backpack, he was finally wearing pants and looked pretty warm with a few pairs of socks in his flip flops.  Now his soul has gone to play the shofar in the House of the Lord where he is believed by Christians to be Angel. 

 

Cross of David

Credit: David Michael Grubbs HA-26-11-11

 

Psalm 23

A psalm of David

The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me of the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

The Ashland Community Shelter and Camping Declaration HA-24-12-11 at www.title24uscode.org/Ashlandshelter.htm was not sent until later that fateful evening and this certificate of service is not presumed to have been the cause of death.  Nor indeed does it seem likely to be the same thief in the night who poisoned my tea pot with that cardiotoxin grad students are so fond of and stole issue 1 of the Ashland Free Press ruining my otherwise kosher quarantined two family with young children Christmas Eve feast and a solid week of peaceful and quiet cohabitation.  Student loans and computer fraud lend credence to the theory that this mayhem if the handiwork of an organized Grinch.  Although I only had one cup before I threw out the tea, I took Christmas Day off to recover and am not sure I will have the full TARP winter shelter close-out done in time for the Peace Church homeless shelter committee meeting on Thursday Dec. 29, 2011.

 

Bibliography

 

Ashland Free Press. Ashland’s Independent Newspaper. Black Friday Edition. Issue 4. Nov. 25-Dec. 9 2011

Ashland Free Press: Ashland’s Independent Newspaper: Lessons Learned and Bridges Burned: Occupy Ashland Week 3. October 24, 2011

Ashland Municipal Code Section 10.46 Prohibited Camping, 10.46.010 Camping defined; 10.46.020 Camping Prohibited; 10.46.030 Sleeping on Benches or within Doorways prohibited; Emergency declaration AMC 2.62.030.

Bridges, Barbara J. R.N. Therapeutic Caregiving: A Practical Guide for Caregivers of Persons with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia Causing Diseases. BJB Publishing. Mill Creek, Washington. 3rd Printing. 1998

Disposition of the Effects of Deceased 24USC(10)§420

Fletcher, Aaron. Working Title: Community Shelter Houses. Peace Church. September 4, 2011

HUD Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress February 2007

Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2006), vacated as moot, 505 F.3d 106 (9th Cir.2007)

Klein, Kim. Reliable Fundraising in Unreliable Times: What Good Causes Need to Know to Survive and Thrive. Jossey-Bass. A Wiley Imprint. Hoboken, New Jersey. 2009

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act 42USC(119)IVC§11383

Moss, Paul; Berger, David; Temple Ralph. Decriminalizing Poverty: Reform of Ashland’s Camping Ordinance. American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. October 13, 2008

O’Harra; Scriptor, Eldon; Kinney, Dick; Edwards, Charleen and Robert. Lithia Park. Artisan Press. Ashland, Oregon. 1986. No page numbers. Stamped Withdrawn from Southern Oregon University Library

Oregon Revised Statute Chapter 203 Home Rule ORS 203.077 Camping by homeless on public property; local governments required to develop policy for removal of camps; ORS 203.079 Required elements of local government policies on camping by homeless; ORS 203.082 Camping by homeless on property of religious institutions; required elements of policies of local governments and religious institutions

Sanders, Tony J. A Treaty of Freedom with the Rogue River Tribes: Table Rocks Wilderness Camping Powwow Petition. Hospitals & Asylums HA-12-5-11

Sanders, Tony J. Book 7: National Cemetery Organization (NCO). 5th Draft. Hospitals & Asylums HA-16-8-11

Sanders, Tony J. CHANGE 16th draft. Constitution of Hospitals & Asylums Non-Governmental Economy (CHANGE) HA-11-11-11

Sanders, Tony J. Majik, Aether, Stashe & Cygnus. New Year’s Eve Candlelight Vigil at Ashland Plaza where Shane Jolly known as “Gone” died on Christmas Eve  HA-24-12-11

Sanders, Tony J. Occupy Ashland Report on Occupy Wall St. Hospitals & Asylums HA-11-11-11

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Williams v. Fears, 179 U.S. 270, 274 (1900)