Berkeley Musicians Unite For Benefit For Homeless Union Shelter Program

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Berkeley musicians Carol Denney, Country Joe McDonald, Buzzy Linhart and the Big Few, Will Scarlett and others will take the stage Wednesday night for the Shelter from the Storm benefit concert at the Freight & Salvage Co. to honor the Berkeley Homeless Union. 

The Homeless Union is an advocacy group for the homeless which successfully negotiated with Mayor Tom Bates to open a new emergency shelter at St. Mark’s Church during the winter’s coldest and rainiest months. The Homeless Union will be celebrating that agreement along with years of work at the benefit, which gets underway ay 8 p.m. at 1111 Addison St. 

Slated to open in a week, the shelter will be staffed by people from the Dorothy Day House and volunteers from the Berkeley Homeless Union. Debbie Moore, a member of the Homeless Union, said the new facility will be an enormous improvement over the encampments set up in years past to protect the homeless who have had nowhere to go as other shelters fill up. Those camps, which she said usually serve up to 75 people, were impromptu and often cleared out by police—as was last year’s, across from City Hall in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. 

Campers there had some shelter, but were still outside, exposed to the elements—which Moore said often leads to sickness and, sometimes, death. 

Denney, Country Joe, Buzzy Linhart and the Big Few, and Will Scarlett—who will play with Marc Silber and Steven Mann—will share the stage Wednesday with Bones and Yukon Hannibal and the X-plicit Singers, drawn from members from the X-plicit Players, Berkeley’s well-known naked street theater group. 

Mayor Bates will appear too, handing out awards to homelessness activists including Osha Neumann, Charles Gray and Marc Weinstein. 

The show is dedicated to Berkeleyans who passed away recently, including Fred Lupke, Ray Reese, Kevin Freeman and Father Bill O’Donnell. Proceeds will pay for immediate needs, including more sleeping bags, blankets and rain ponchos. 

For more information contact Debbie Moore at 848-1985 or debbiemoore@xplicitplayers.com.