Public Comment

Open Letter to the Berkeley City Council Regarding the Homeless Crisis

Marcia Poole
Friday June 07, 2019 - 02:37:00 PM

I have copied you on an email that has been sent out by Barbara Brust regarding the cruelty with how Berkeley handles its homeless crisis. Our homeless are Berkeley's Economic Refugees and I think they deserve all the care, consideration and compassion that we can deliver.

A particular case in point is Mama Chrystal and her family. They were evicted from their little tent encampment recently because another group, who had set up hundreds of yards away from theirs and was not affiliated with them at all, caused a fire at that encampment. Instead of directing disciplinary action at the other people who caused it and at their location, the police evicted Mama Chrystal and her family. This was from the spot that Jesse had said she could set up her camp. 

Should we now punish all neighbors if a crime or accident happens at another person's home who live hundreds of yards away from them and are not affiliated with them? I think all of Berkeley would suffer very quickly. Why do we single out peaceful homeless people who have been abiding by laws and good conduct when some other person or group commits a bad action? 

With 300's death less than two weeks ago, I think there are many of us who have determined not to let this happen to our friends again.

That being said, I can't believe that the City Manager and Staff have recommended cutting out two decades-old programs that have fed the hungry in Berkeley - the Quarter Meal and the Breakfast provided by Dorothy Day House. This is punitive towards the housed poor and the homeless poor. When did we start considering giving food and water to those in need not worth city expenditures? This is cruel.