Houseless Homeowners

Tiny - Posted on 19 September 2012

Tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia & Maggie Williams/PNN

Houseless Homeowners

Another anti-poor people legislation is passed in San Francisco

By tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia and Maggie Williams


“We are homeowners and we are part of our local neighborhood watch”…  One after the other, residents of the Sunset district of San Francisco stood up in front of the Land Use Committee of the SF Board of Supervisors to voice support for a racist, classist, anti-poor people measure proposed by Carmen Chiu which would make it  doubly illegal (its already illegal) to park “large” vehicles (translation: RV’s and campers where houseless people sleep) on the streets in the Sunset.


“We used to be homeowners…” One after the other disabled elder war veterans ages 82-94 yrs old, stood in front of  the War Memorial at a rally for veterans who are losing their homes or have already lost their homes to foreclosure by banks like Chase and Wells Fargo. According to AARP’s recent report “Nightmare on Main Street,” in the last 5 years more than 1.5 million seniors have lost their homes as a result of the mortgage crisis. 


On Monday, September 17th PNN Co-editor and poverty skolar re-ported n supported on both of these events that happened within one block of each other.  Billed and organized as completely different events, a common occurrence in our conveniently splintered capitalist reality, they are actually different parts of the same systemic violence to poor folks so common in our  society, only interested in humans as long as they are producing an income or own some capital


“ I have nowhere else to go,” After a several year long struggle, African descendent elder and home owner of 40 years, Kathy Galvez called me last week to explain that she was now in a motel about, one nights rent away from sleeping on the street.


“I Lived in my house in the Bayview for 32 years and then they sold the building and I was evicted. I am disabled and live on Social security, I have no money to pay for rent in the Bay Area, that’s why I live in my car,” Maggie Williams, African descendent, 72, living in her neatly kept RV parks on Lincoln st in the Sunset when she isnt being harassed by racist and classist neighborhood watch and self-proclaimed homeowners in the Sunset. Now she will be charged with an infraction and if cited enough times could do jail time. For being houseless in Amerikkka.


When me and mama were houseless for over 10 years of my childhood cause my mama was a poor single mama of color who was disabled and could no longer afford rent  we only had our car to sleep in many nights, and it was after receiving over 200 citations for sleeping in our vehicle, that I was eventually incarcerated in jail for over three months.


The incarceration did not “help” us or make us less houseless, but what it did do is traumatize me and my mama even more to the point that I tried to commit suicide and my mama was hospitalized.


How it it that when large corporate event promoters like Outside Lands and Bay To Breakers,  fill the Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods with  so many cars that there is no more room for the residents to park their cars, that they don’t pass legislation against those. Perhaps its because those corporations pay large sums to the city for permits and fees and off-duty police officers and lawyers and politrickster favors and so no-one can really say anything even if the neighbors don’t like it.


Unsightly, trash, blight, mess, dirty, crazy, dangerous, unsafe, the coded language flew around the supervisor chambers.  Poor people crimes like Sit-lie, Gnng Injunction, and Stop and Frisk are always raced and classed. If you are too poor to own or rent the stolen indigenous land you are driving or sleeping on it seems to give the world carte blanche access to judge the “look” of you, your belongings, what you do with your money and your actions. Throw covert racism into the mix and suddenly the words “dangerous” and “unsafe” are thrown into the mix and the crime is sealed.


After heartfelt testimony from POOR Magazine poverty skolaz and tireless advocates at the Coalition on Homeless and Western Regional Advocacy Project, the measure was passed unanimously by board supervisors Malia Cohen, Scott Wiener and what made the saddest of all, Eric Mar, a legislator who  seemed to bury his conscious heart in the sand for this vote.


“I just wonder where these people think people like us are supposed to go, jail, I guess.” Miss Williams concluded after the vote.


If people want to speak back to this disgusting legislation the board will be voting on it on September 25th. If you can't make that time call the board members David Chiu @ (415) 554-7450 - Malia Cohen @ (415) 554-7670 and Eric Mar @ (415) 554-7410 . For more updates call the Coalition on Homelessness @ 415-346-3740


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