In response to an endless stream of tickets from police and rangers for illegal sleeping, Santa Cruz homeless people are now engaged in an ongoing protest against the sleeping ban. In the early morning of August 16th, over 30 people were sleeping on the hard bricks at City Hall. People have slept at City Hall, 809 Center Street, every night since August 12th to visualize their lack of a place to legally sleep. There are no plans to end the protest until people are allowed to legally sleep somewhere.
The following photographs were taken late in the night of August 13th and early in the morning of August 16th. The photographs are being published in an effort to raise awareness of the terrible situation that homeless people face when their human need to sleep is treated as a criminal act. People should not have to worry about harassment and tickets from police and rangers when they cover up with a blanket or fall asleep at night.
Santa Cruz’s sleeping ban, 6.36.010a, makes it illegal to sleep outside or in a vehicle between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.
6.36.010b, known as the blanket ban, makes it illegal to set-up any bedding, even just having a blanket, between the same hours, 11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.
6.36.010c, the camping ban, states that setting-up any sleeping or cooking equipment anywhere that is not intended for human occupancy with the intent to remain in that location overnight, is against the law.
People in violation of these laws face $95 tickets which, according to reports on SC-IMC, are usually dismissed from court because the city of Santa Cruz does not offer any legal sleeping option for people who do not have a legal place to sleep. Although the tickets may be dismissed in court, rangers and police regularly destroy or confiscate items belonging to homeless people, wake them up while sleeping, harass them and drag them through a revolving-door court system.
Demonstrators are asking all members of the community to support the protest and help end the sleeping ban.
More information can be found in the comments section of the article, Sir! No Sir! and Sleeping Ban Protest at City Hall.
Crossposted at Indybay.org.