Friday, July 9, 2010

Night Two: People Protest Sleeping Ban

Night Two: People Protest Sleeping Ban

Posted: Jul 05, 2010 11:29 PM PDT Updated: Jul 05, 2010 11:29 PM PDT

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - For the second time this week, people are getting their sleeping bags and blankets ready to stand up for what they think is right. They said they're not going away until the city ends its 40-year-old "Sleeping Ban."

"I think the sleeping ban is ridiculous," said Orbit, houseless individual.

"It's kind of unconstitutional for people to tell me that I cannot live, and I need sleep to live," said houseless individual, K.C.

Homeless individuals and a group of people with the homeless united for friendship and freedom want to send a message to the city of Santa Cruz. They say they have the right to sleep outside within city limits. K.C. told Central Coast News he's been homeless for nearly 4 years, and sleeping outside is his only option.

"There is no housing. There is no place to sleep at night. You go to the shelter you have to wait 6 months. If you sign up for the low income housing, you have to wait 2 years," said K.C.

Other people camping out said it's been difficult for them to find a shelter with available beds. Monday night, we went to the Homeless Services Center to find out how hard it actually is for people to get housing assistance. Monica Martinez with the center told me spaces fill up quick.

"We currently have 32 shelter beds for men and 14 beds for women, which definitely doesn't meet the need for the homeless individuals for the county. We allow people to get on a waiting list. Our current waiting list is about anywhere between two weeks to a month an a half to get emergency shelter," said Monica Martinez, Santa Cruz Homeless Services Center.

Martinez said there are at least 2,000 homeless individuals in Santa Cruz County and approximately 100 to 200 beds available in the city of Santa Cruz alone. She told me there's huge need for more shelters and beds in the city. She's hoping there can be a compromise between the city and those who want to appeal the "sleeping ban."

"I really think that if we work together, we can come up with a solution," said Martinez.

City officials told us they are happy with the law and will continue to enforce the law. People out here say they will continue to camp out every night until the city suspends the ordinance or sets up a legal place to sleep at night.

Submitted by Susanne Brunner, Central Coast News.

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