We let the people in this day in late February.We usually let them line up outside,and serve our Saturday breakfast around eight thirty. We usually have close to and two hundred fifty people.We let them in this week to escape the pouring rain.It was a dreary morning.We tried to replace the dreariness with a hot cup of coffee and a sense of community.It is important for people to feel that they belong to something .It is blessed when people feel that they belong to something larger than themselves.
People say that our Saturday morning breakfast is the best in town.They don’t realize that we are not just feeding the stomach,We are attempting to feed the greater part of their spirit.We are attempting to feed the parts of individuals that reach for parity with other people and society as a whole. We attempt to feed the parts of people that grasps for meaning while they are standing in a food line,after having got up from the weeds,others do their morning stretches having sprung up from flowery beds of eases,and contemplate a pedestrian breakfast at some open air venue,while our people fight the weeds and the illegality of sleeping in the weeds,at the same time.
Our people know that they face an injustice that is inarticulate.An injustice that anymore, has woven itself into the fabric of society.Take affordable housing, sometimes with the blessing of the housing authority, city,county,and federal,toss the residence out, and rebuild that housing,hailing it as urban paradises for the high income.This happens every day.
Now our people are sleeping in the weeds. Lining up for breakfast with disturbing thoughts and attitudes.
Disposable people who don’t try hard enough. My God , why would anyone sleep in the streets?Why do some people choose to be homeless?
Why are they on they on the streets? Aren’t there enough shelters?
And the cognitive dissonance goes on and on. And the arrest,for the crime of having no dough.
But spirit can not be destroyed. We can raise the spirit by feeding the spirit and encouraging our people to stand under one voice and demand an end to the injustice and arrest that is plaguing our people at this time.
We want our people to believe that they are a part of something larger than themselves.
Towards that end, we intend to establish a homeless union in Saint Petersburg,for the homeless by the homeless.
Our intent is to organize behind three issues:
1)We want to challenge the treatment of the homeless by the police, and the number of arrest of the homeless for just being who they are. We want to confront the powers that be who have turned their homeless problem over to the criminal justice system.
2)The lack of affordable and or sliding scale housing in the area.Homeless people who get SSI, or SSDI checks can not get an independent living situation because rents are above the amount that the homeless receive from their checks. So you have people at the pinnacle of their earning potential and can not afford a place to stay.
3) We will to confront the Shelter Industrial complex about the way that they are perpetuating homelessness. Shelters are not preparing people to take the next step towards housing and instead are making people dependent on their services. They also have the power to turn people out without appeal.They also turn over their population on a time schedule and render people homeless without a roof.
Safe Harbor, Pinellas County’s prison/ shelter is number one. There is no shelter that has security guards,and has a punishment area, that is not a prison. People are getting tased, thrown out into the outer darkness, and go to jail every day.Or they are thrown outside fourteen miles out of town. No children. Married couples have to meet outside in the yard.
That is the result of turning homelessness over to the sheriff. Sheriffs know jail. Any shelter would be a secure facility, with armed guards. That is an exclamation point to the criminalization of homelessness.
Our homeless union will develop leadership from the homeless community and serve to empower us and transform power, by giving us the opportunity to speak truth to it.