Tag Archives: Berkeley homelessness
Several readers asked Berkeleyside to find out why it took seven officers to detain one man in downtown Berkeley earlier this week.
Wondered Stefanie Kalem: “Anybody know what just happened with seven cops and one very agitated man on the corner of Shattuck and Addison?”
The incident drew some attention because it took place in a highly trafficked area at a busy time of day, and involved quite a few officers and police vehicles. Video of the incident appears below.
The scuffle ultimately drew at least 10 officers to Shattuck Avenue and Addison Street on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at about 4:15 p.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police were initially called for a report of a man who was “ranting, and appeared extremely agitated.”
Officers tried to speak with the man, Coats said, but he “became agitated and took a fighting posture towards the officers.” Officers tried to detain him and he became “physically combative … and resisted their attempts to take him safely into custody.”
Kevin Kunze, who was at the scene, posted the following video on YouTube, asking “How many Berkeley cops does it take to arrest one homeless person?” He wrote to Berkeleyside on Twitter and wanted to know more. … Continue reading »
A new one-stop homelessness services shop is in the works in Berkeley.
Announced Tuesday night, the city is changing the way it funds programs offered in town, to prioritize the people with the highest needs, in line with a federal mandate to streamline services into a coordinated system.
The city is looking to create a central office where anyone seeking services will begin the process. Currently, there are too many entry points, as well as duplicative services and a mis-match between those who receive the highest level of assistance and those who needs it most, staff said Tuesday at a work session with the Berkeley City Council.
The city spends about $3 million a year on a range of programs. That is not set to change. But how the money is divvied up, and exactly which types of services receive money, will be different. Unlike the current system, programs will have to fit into set categories to qualify for city support. … Continue reading »
Update, Aug. 15, 4:30 p.m. Authorities have identified the man who died after having health complications at the Ashby BART station Tuesday as 54-year-old Keith Golson of Berkeley.
Original story, Aug. 14, 1 p.m. A man died this week after passing out at the Ashby BART station in South Berkeley, authorities reported Wednesday.
The incident took place just before 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to BART.
Tuesday night, the Berkeley Fire Department responded to the west lot of the Ashby BART station for a report of a sick man who had passed out. … Continue reading »
Although a few people have lived near the tracks for years, the population expanded after the residents at the Albany Bulb were evicted in May, neighbors say. Several new encampments have appeared following a city of Berkeley clean-up of the Gilman/1-80 underpass on July 18, which caused the homeless living there to disperse. … Continue reading »
Citing concerns about garbage and rodents, both dead and alive, the city of Berkeley sent in a team to clean up Gilman Street beneath Interstate 80 where homeless people have been living in recent months, city staff said Friday.
At least one advocate for the homeless criticized the effort, saying no one was told in advance about the operation, which dispersed residents and will make it harder to provide important services to them, he said.
City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Friday shortly before noon that the operation to address ongoing sanitation problems on Gilman under the freeway had gone smoothly. He estimated that perhaps a dozen people were on site when the city arrived Friday morning. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley, which had planned to remove the personal possessions of the homeless living on Gilman Street under Interstate 80 on July 15, has backed off its insistence that the homeless encampment is a public nuisance.
City Manager Christine Daniel sent out a memo July 9 saying the city is terminating its public nuisance determination. Berkeley just learned that the East Bay Community Law Center is working with city agencies to find temporary housing for the Gilman homeless. The city wants to give everyone more time to find new arrangements, Daniel said.
Daniel emphasized, however, that the encampment is posing a health hazard and the city’s patience is limited. … Continue reading »
A year ago, Kyle Evans and his family were sleeping in motel rooms and, at times, their car. Despite his circumstances, Evans focused on keeping his grades up and being a role model for his younger sister. He had to forgo various activities enjoyed by his peers, as his family didn’t have the money to pay for them. He managed to keep a positive perspective and achieve success despite the odds.
“Adversity is a chance to find the God in you,” said Evans, who has been accepted to Brown University and plans to become a doctor. “It makes you a stronger person.”
Evans is one of 20 youth who will be honored Thursday at the first annual “Rising Stars” gala, put on by local advocacy organization Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) to recognize youth for achievement in the face of adversity. The group is also raising money this week for a scholarship fund for award recipients; scroll down for details.
By Matt Werner
Every Sunday morning for the last 17 years, Zyg Deutschman has gone over to JC Orton’s house at 6 a.m. to help prepare breakfast for the homeless in Berkeley. One morning, about a decade ago, JC opened his door to find Zyg slumped over on his doorstep. JC first thought Zyg was drunk but then saw that Zyg’s face was gray. He was having a major heart attack. JC called 911 and continued preparing the meal after the paramedics arrived and took Zyg to the hospital.
Years later, JC recalls how he was able to finish getting the meal out on time that morning. He filled his van with oatmeal, grits, sweet rolls and fruit; arrived at People’s Park in time to feed the 80 or so people who’d gathered for breakfast; then drive to Civic Center Park (also called Provo Park, across from Berkeley’s City Hall), where he fed about 80 more people. This was all in a day’s work for JC, who heads up the organization Night on the Streets Catholic Worker.
JC lives below the poverty line. He suffers from diabetes. Skin cancer has left scars below his left eye and left forearm. His wife is bipolar and recovering from drug addiction. Despite these odds, he and the Worker serve breakfast in the parks every Sunday morning and soup three nights a week. JC, aided by a few college students and recent grads, distributes hundreds of sleeping bags and runs the storm shelter on cold and rainy nights. … Continue reading »
By Victor Casillas Valle
Nestled behind St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, on Bancroft Way in Berkeley, is one huge set of steel steps covered in rust and foliage. Walking up them, there’s a feeling of urban beauty, something that is calming with a rush of city excitement. Reaching the top, you enter a high-ceilinged auditorium with huge windows and an airy sense of natural light. Every Monday, the room is filled with conversation rising from the writing workshop, or occasional open mic, provided by the Write Home Project.
Conceived and run by two UC Berkeley alumni and working poets, Gabriel Cortez and Natasha Huey, The Write Home Project facilitates creative arts work by homeless youth (under 25). Write Home provides an outlet for its participants to be heard while they tell stories about, and create a dialogue around, the state of homelessness. … Continue reading »
Responding to complaints that the homeless people who camped under the Gilman/I-80 underpass were engaged in criminal activity, Caltrans has fenced off the area — pushing the encampment onto a narrow strip nearby.
Caltrans installed the fencing between Feb. 10 and March 6 at the request of the Berkeley Police Department, “in order to help curtail criminal activity in the area,” said Caltrans spokesman Robert Haus via email.
“We have had complaints regarding criminal activity associated with the encampment down there,” said police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats via email. “We have reached out to those camping in the area through members of our Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), Area Coordinators, and Mobile Crisis workers.” … Continue reading »
A man was found dead in Codornices Park on Sunday after being discovered by a person walking through the North Berkeley park.
Berkeley Police say they received a call at around 1 p.m. on Jan. 19 of a “possible deceased subject” in Codornices Park. The caller reported finding a man who appeared to be sleeping, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The caller attempted to check on him, but he was unresponsive. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley collected and threw away the unattended possessions of eight homeless people on Dec. 26. Afterwards many of them said they had to scramble to find new blankets and coverings to stave off the chill of recent winter nights, although the city said it had sifted through the items for valuables such as those and found none. One of the homeless men said the items that were taken were vital to his survival.
The city confiscated about 13 shopping carts filled with possessions on a piece of city property on Eastshore Highway and Gilman the day after Christmas because workers thought the items had been abandoned, according to Matthai Chakko, a spokesman for Berkeley. Staff sorted through the goods and, when they did not find anything of value, dumped it.
“They did clear property that was unattended,” Chakko said. “They looked through it and didn’t find anything valuable. They didn’t find tents, or sleeping bags, or blankets. We would have bagged, tagged, and contained them.” … Continue reading »
The homeless are the most marginalized and dispossessed people in the United States. To be homeless is to experience a wide spectrum of discrimination. In the past decade, legislation seeking to criminalize the homeless has gained popularity in cities that are fed up or exasperated with the “homeless problem”.
The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reported that between 30% and 50% of major American cities criminalize some form of homelessness, ranging from “aggressive” panhandling to simply sitting on the sidewalk.
Our own city … Continue reading »