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Organizing the Homeless


After reading the Poodle’s mention of the Milpas Community Association and “the broader anti-panhandling and anti-homeless crusade now gathering steam in Santa Barbara,” I began thinking about the possibility of doing a little organizing on my own. I have a fairly large network of activist friends to draw upon for help and have been organizing people for more than 35 years. In fact, I worked on Jerry Brown’s first two campaigns.

What if I used my resources to gather as many homeless people to Santa Barbara as is possible? I can see it now: “Come to Santa Barbara—where the weather is great, the beaches and parks are lovely, the ocean and mountains are beautiful, and the tourists are plentiful year-round. We are organizing a massive uprising against the neglect and abuse of homeless people everywhere and are inviting all the homeless people in America to attend.”

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty states that approximately 3.5 million people, 1.35 million of them children, are likely to experience homelessness in a given year (figures are for 2007, but I’m sure it’s much higher today). I wouldn’t expect them all to come to Santa Barbara. Thirty or forty thousand would be nice, though.

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