Stop Discrimination Against the Homeless in Berkeley

800px-Helping_the_homeless

Target: Berkeley City Council

Goal: Continue to allow homeless people to sit on sidewalks in Berkeley

The Berkeley City Council recently voted to put a measure on the November ballot that would ban sitting on sidewalks during business hours in commercial areas. The Council directed the city attorney to draft a ballot measure and bring it back to the Council in July for formal placement on the ballot. The measure would ban sitting on city sidewalks in commercial areas between 7am and 10pm and would ticket violators. Homeless people are directly being targeted with the ban. Instead of addressing homelessness, the ban would punish people for being homeless.

The best way to reduce the number of homeless people sitting on city sidewalks is to reduce the number of homeless people in general. Berkeley has already been successful in reducing the number of homeless people in the city by increasing access to services and permanent housing. Through these efforts, the number of homeless people in Berkeley has dropped from 821 in 2003 to 680 in 2009. Unfortunately, the programs are still not enough to meet the need of all the homeless people in Berkeley. Increasing space in emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, in addition to increasing access to services will help end homelessness. Instituting a ban on sitting on sidewalks in city areas merely increases stress for homeless individuals and forces them to move into other areas.

By signing the petition below, you will help urge the Berkeley City Council to reconsider placing a measure to ban sitting on city sidewalks on the November ballot.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Berkeley City Council,

A ban on sitting on city sidewalks will do nothing to address homelessness in Berkeley. The Council recently voted to place a measure on the November ballot that would ban sitting on city sidewalks in commercial areas between 7am and 10pm. The city attorney was directed to draft a ballot measure and bring it back to the Council for formal placement on the ballot in July. Violators of the ban would be ticketed. Punishing homeless people for being homeless will do nothing to address homelessness.

The best way to reduce the number of homeless people sitting on city sidewalks is to address homelessness. Berkeley has already been successful in reducing the number of homeless people in the city by increasing access to permanent housing and services. Despite these efforts, there were still 680 homeless people in Berkeley as of 2009. There is still insufficient funding to provide housing and services for all of the homeless people in Berkeley. Instituting a ban on sitting on city sidewalks in commercial areas will just cause homeless people to move elsewhere. Instead of a ban, more funding should be allocated to homeless assistance services to help homeless individuals find permanent housing.

I urge you to address homelessness by allocating more funds to homeless assistance services instead of placing a measure to ban sitting on city sidewalks in commercial areas on the November ballot.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

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146 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Holly Hall
  • Jutta Taraniuk
  • Melanie waleski
  • Ricki Newman
  • sundriya grubb
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