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I am Camp Resolution and Camp Resolution is I.

Organized, self-governed houseless people led solutions to housing

by Momii Palapaz


“I’ve been homeless for 13 years and I’ve been swept, had everything taken away from me.  I have felt …less than a person. They (*shitty hall) have taken that away from me.  I don’t have a reason to smile no more” said a Camp Resolution resident.


Dennis shows his t-shirt of Camp Resolution















3.4 miles from the California State Capitol, Camp Resolution, at 2225 Colfax, sits on vacant property owned by the City of Sacramento. This neighborhood is the home of over 20 residents that hold a lease for land and have successfully committed themselves to self-determination, representation and self-government.  


Even though the City of Sacramento and residents of Camp Resolution developed and signed a contract together, the City representatives, Mario Lara; Assistant Manager, District Attorney; Thien Ho and Howard Chan; City Manager are turning their backs on Camp Resolution. Written with the community of mostly women and elderly, promises by the City turned into lies. Lies of permanent housing placement, dishonesty and the lie of offering stability.


One check away…


When I became a family member with POOR MAGAZINE HOMEFULNESS, I knew from apartment living what housing instability feels like.  Paying the *lie of rent, I see the Cal Trans aggressively sweeping people and their belongings.  I hear the cries from my houseless neighbors. We are all targets, especially those like my elder self, one SSI check away from homelessness. I listened to the truth tellers. I learned that those experiencing firsthand, those who know and are skilled from living on the streets are the people with real solutions to permanent housing and self-determination.  


Homefulness Building in Tongva


Poor People Led Solutions to Housing


From Nicklesville in Seattle, Washington to Aetna Street in L.A., organized communities of houseless people have refused to accept temporary solutions like *tiny tombs or prison motels and are fighting back against the constant sweeping of people on sidewalks, abandoned properties and vacant lots. Moms for Housing, Wood Street, Reclaiming Our Homes and other houseless led movements are taking back and leading in their right to housing.  


“This is the best thing that happened to me.  said resident, Danielle Wild from Camp Resolution. 

“The mayor (Darrell Steinberg) of Sacramento doesn’t want us in front of businesses, and schools.  Why can’t we just stay in the lots and stay out of their way instead of sweeping us?...  We got our own garbage pickup. We got our own bathrooms. It would keep homeless people away from schools and businesses…be less people on the streets sleeping in parks.  We have our own gated community until we get housing. It would keep a lot of people away from everybody that don’t want us around. “ 


Big business profits from homelessness


Hearing her honestly describing housed people, I am ashamed our humanity has sunk so low.  Society has taught our children to despise, ridicule, and publicly taunt the houseless community. The shame of poverty, domestic violence, and mental illness accelerate with an eviction and nowhere to go. Add to that the scorn, bullying and exceedingly, the physical violence from the people who are housed. This system has graduated to an intense level of hate. To make more money, government and media, with real estate, lodges a barrage of degradation, justifies continued displacement, and campaigns for more police and social welfare punishment.  “... you will see less violence and homelessness and garbage on the street because we would be in our own community.” Danielle continued, “at least let us get on our feet and then it is up to us. Give us a chance. Why wouldn’t they want us to be in our own lot, away from that?”

 


A Long History of Displacement


Since immigration of the 1900’s to the WWII 1940’s my ancestors and their families moved numerous times.  Displaced by the WWII suspicions of Japanese Americans' loyalty to America, the unUS concentration camps held them for at least 2 years. Once they were released, housing was not easy to find but eventually my mother rented from the Japanese owner of an apartment building in the largely Japanese 4 block area of SF.  


Back in the late 1950’s until the 1980’s, nationwide, The Redevelopment Agency (RDA) aka urban removal was the stage for today’s houseless crisis. My family and thousands of Black families, and people of color in the SF Fillmore district were violently evicted. Anti-eviction groups were almost non-existent in the 1970’s. Mass displacement reaped devastating upheaval and emptied thousands of homes in the Western Addition. Protest from the Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction organized too late but with much resident support and spirit. Corporate development was delayed but the anti-eviction movement did not succeed in stopping displacement against the RDA, SF and Japanese corporations dedicated to gentrification.


The RDA and government housing agencies nationwide schemed with corporate developers to “upgrade” and replace us with higher income, white and expensive condos. Black and other non-white established businesses of stores, restaurants, nightclubs, were permanently shuttered. Demolition wiped out the thriving neighborhoods and replaced it with impractical, privileged shops and pricey nightlife venues. Today, communities of color are scattered from Modesto to Sacramento to Stockton and Fresno. Today, tents, cardboard hovels, cars and uninhabitable SRO’s house longtime bay area residents. 


Homefulness resident Brokin Cloud with Camp Resolution member


Housed Must Stand with the Unhoused


“I am a volunteer and it’s a joke. Mario Lara, City Hall, has $5 million for Safe Grounds and refuses to do anything about it. There is a cheap, reasonable way to get water for people throughout the City of Sacramento. God forbid that they should give water for not paying the bill.  I am a voter. I voted for these people and am ashamed I did. They don’t care. They do not care and the City will not do anything to help them.”


Since 2022, census reports over 500,000 homeless in the unUS. According to the National Alliance to end Homelessness, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are houseless at a percentage of 121.2 percent followed by 48% Blacks, 44% Native Americans, 36.1 multi-racial, Latinos at 22.4%, Whites, then Asians, the least affected by homelessness at 4%.  


Two years later, in 2024, there have been a multitude of climate disasters worldwide, fueled by profiteers and the local governments of unUS. Last year’s murderous Maui fire, killing over 97 people and leaving over 6,000 Hawaiians houseless, has yet to offer permanent housing to the native communities and locals. Land grabbing visions and prospects immediately started within hours of the tragedy.  


“The Shitty of Sacramento is “reneging on its agreement to house these people.  …Instead (Camp Resolution) is being bullied by the DA, bullied by false narratives and stigma of homelessness. It’s shameful.” said Mr. Baiocchi from the School of Social Workers at Sacramento State college. He went on imploring that Sacto Shitty Hall “should allow Camp Resolution to occupy an abandoned lot which isn’t being used for anything. These people want to be visible and want to be heard. The City should hear them. Camp Resolution is an incredible thing. I’ve never seen anything like this. The City should be studying it and seeing how they can have 10 Camp Resolutions, because this is actually working.”


“They know what they need to do and think about the people less fortunate. They have housing they can go home to. They have cars that we can’t even manage to drive. They got a paycheck, we can’t even imagine to think of ‘what about us?’. We’re human too. All we want is our housing. Make it right for us. We’re Camp Resolution. We’re not going anywhere.”-Camp Resolution resident


Long before colonizers killed en masse Native tribes and indigenous nations on Turtle Island, the Nisenan, Maidu, Miwok and Me-Wuk peoples inhabited and maintained the land now called Sacramento. Today, government arrogance and greed justify the stealing of land.  No one owns mother earth.


*  from PoShunary by povertySkola aka tiny


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