For Immediate Release
Right 2 Survive and Right 2 Dream Too protest opening of community court in multi-million dollar homeless facility
“You shouldn’t have to plead guilty in order to get housing or services.” says Leo Rhodes. “There is funding attached to criminalizing the houseless.”
PORTLAND, OR – May 4th, 2012- Members of Right 2 Survive and the Right 2 Dream Too rest area, will protest the opening of a community court in the Bud Clark Commons at 1pm on Friday, May 4th.
“People are being told that there is no funding for housing, but they are making people think that if they go into court and plead guilty there is a possibility of getting housing.” says Rhodes, a homeless advocate who has been cited for sleeping outside.
Over the past year, the Western Regional Advocacy Project has led a survey effort with its grassroots members and allies in Portland, OR, Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Houston, TX, and Worcester, MA documenting homeless people’s experiences with the criminal justice system for survival-related “crimes.” More than three-quarters of survey respondents (78 percent) reported being harassed, cited or arrested by police officers for sleeping outside. Seventy-five percent reported the same for sitting or lying down, and 76 percent for loitering or simply “hanging out.” These were by far the top crimes for which homeless people were charged. A sad corresponding fact is that only one quarter of respondents (25 percent) believed that they knew of safe, legal places to sleep.
“What they’re doing with this homeless court is taking away a population’s right to due process, which is unconstitutional”, says Amber Dunks of Right 2 Dream Too. “What’s worse is that agencies that are supposed to be supporting the unhoused are behind this.”
Right 2 Survive is an organization led by unhoused, and formerly unhoused individuals. R2S is dedicated to educating houseless people and their allies about their human, civil, and constitutional rights. R2S works to empower unhoused people and their allies to take action against laws, policies and practices that criminalize people for survival activities.
Right 2 Dream Too exists to awaken social and political groups to the importance of safe and undisturbed sleep. Our purpose is to create a place where unhoused people can rest or sleep without being rousted by police or private security and without being under the constant threat of violence. We hope to create a cost-effective, self-sustaining model that can be replicated elsewhere.