In celebration of their one year anniversary, the direct action group ACT UP/San Francisco staged a lively, 50 person demonstration last Saturday, April 20th. The event was aimed at drawing attention to the impact of increasing evictions and rental price increases in San Francisco on people living with HIV/AIDS. The group, and a coalition of supporting LGBT and housing rights organizations, began at 16th and Mission Street and worked their way up to Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro. The marchers, who took to the streets chanting ‘Housing is a right, housing is a right, ACT UP!’ and ‘Housing equals healthcare and eviction equals death!’, made multiple stops along the way. Though perhaps small in size, the demonstration made a strong and colorful stand, one that hammered in the point that the increasing rents and waves of evictions hitting San Francisco hurt people living with HIV/AIDS and their supporters. Despite the inclusion of lavish street theater and brightly painted signs, the protest was not all noise. Imbedded in their style, ACT UP offered a pointed critique of San Francisco’s City government, especially District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a gay man who the group feels has turned a blind eye to evictions in his neighborhood.
On Wednesday October 10, 2012 people who are “homeless, have recently been evicted, and foreclosed-on, the dispossessed, and their allies took to the streets in San Francisco protesting and marching to express their frustration with the current homeless situation and numbers both here in San Francisco and in the whole United States. Here in San Francisco it is believed that at least 10,000 people are homeless, and there are at least 35,000 vacant “housing units,” city wide. It is also believed that there at least “3.5 million homeless people in the United States, and that at least 1 million are children, but only 112,000 nationwide are chronically homeless.”
San Francisco, October 10-Today is World Homeless Action Day.
In the spirit of the day, the squatter’s collective Homes Not Jails, along with other community activists and members of Occupy SF, took to the streets and took over a mammoth 600 unit building in San Francisco.
Today’s action began with a 5 p.m. rally in the city’s Civic Center. After a quartet of horn players from the Brass Liberation Orchestra warmed up the rained-on crowd, one speaker from Homes Not Jails reported that the 2010 Census found over 32,000 vacant housing units in San Francisco, whose homeless population is said to be about 10,000.
Leary of the chaos that consumed Market Street and much of downtown last year, at the dawn of Gulf War II, swarms of police wearing riot helmets and wielding billy clubs were prepared to contain Direct Action to Stop the War’s 7 a.m. gathering at Justin Herman Plaza and subsequent Bechtel Headquarters protest. But when a sub-group that had continued marching up Market turned onto Page Street, the police where caught off-guard. Occupied by keeping people on the sidewalks, distracted police were unable to prevent a group of about 25 squatters’ rights activists from storming through the entrance of an unoccupied building at 47 Page Street. The Autonomous Collective, a local anti-capitalist group, orchestrated the morning-long stand-off in order to draw attention to the affordable housing shortage and rampant homelessness that continue to plague San Francisco.
“Last night was the first time I slept in a bed in a month,” said Purple, a homeless youth, from inside the cavernous squat. “It’s really encouraging to see people unite to demand shelter, because this place is a lot better than Golden Gate Park. That crazy place is full of junkies who want to fight all the time. It’s not safe, plus if I can’t afford a place to sleep, how am I supposed to afford a ticket for sleeping outside?”
The squat that was open in San Francisco for the last few months and housing a number of people was evicted last night. They are mobilising interested people to meet at the
Coalition on Homelessness 468 Turk st (SF)