A Dream Denied: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities

Posted: March 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

BULBmap5

This is  one of many listings of places all throughout the United States where it is “illegal to be homeless.”   There is history behind this place in Albany, Calfornia – it is known as “The Bulb.”   For the full listing of reports, please go to this link:  National Coalition for the Homeless

Albany, CA

“Responding to complaints from the Albany Waterfront Committee, the city once again began evicting residents from their campsites on a former garbage dump known as the Albany Bulb.  City employees tore down 19 encampments, using a backhoe to fill two large green dumpsters with tents, clothing and shopping carts, costing the city $15,000. The city’s environmental resources manager, Nicole Almaguer, stated, “The city has a no-camping ordinance that is being enforced at the bulb.”

The bulb has become a sort of cultural icon for its residents and the surrounding community.  The area is full of large sculptures, paintings and other artwork, which became the subject of a 2003 documentary.  Area residents have also turned it into an unofficial dog park.  Simon Abrams, of Oakland, California, said, “I’ve been coming here all my life, and I’ve never had any problem with the homeless-they’re pretty mellow.”

“Because the Bulb is geographically unorganized and seldom patrolled by the Albany Police Department, it is often described as Anarchical. Many groups, including urban artists, local homeless, dog-walkers, teenagers, and environmentalists, use the Bulb area and feel they have a stake in it.

Art

The Bulb is home to a vast array of urban art including mural, stencil, graffiti, sculpture, and installation art. Sculptor and activist lawyer Osha Neumann has created some of the largest works. He often collaborates with Jason DeAntonis. Sniff, a group of artists composed of Scott Hewitt, Scott Meadows and David Ryan, painted large, highly imaginative “murals” on wood and erected more sculptures on the northwest corner of The Bulb. Another Bulb landmark, referred to as “The Castle,” is a large concrete, rebar and plaster shelter which sits on the south west corner of the Bulb, directly opposite the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bulb has been used for informal concerts and even a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest presented by We Players, a Bay Area site-specific theatre company.”  Read more from Wiki here:  Link to Albany Bulb

Video of  The Bulb

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Photographs by Peter Mertz

Posted by Ruthie Benjamin

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