Tag Archives: homelessness

4 more donation parking meters installed to aid homeless

On  May 15, 2017 I posted about the first parking meter installed outside the Joel D. Valdez main library in downtown Tucson, for people to donate their extra change (or donate via credit/debit card) to help aid homeless people.  This project is sponsored by the Tucson Change Movement. More info and photos on the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/TucsonChange/.

Recently four other such green/blue parking meters were installed —  1) outside Public Works Center at 201 N. Stone Avenue 2) at Mercado San Agustin at 100 S. Avenida del Convento 3) at Tucson Children’s Museum at 200 S. 6th Avenue and 4) TCC Arena, 260 S. Church Ave.  Photos courtesy of Tucson Change Movement below.

 

 

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Spare some change? for the homeless

Last Wednesday I stumbled upon a green/blue parking meter outside the Joel D. Valdez Main library (101 N. Stone Ave.), not a regular parking meter but one that collects donation$ for homeless programs.  Just missed the press conference about Tucson Change Movement (in association with the Community Foundation of So AZ), a new program that is setting up about 20 of these colorful meters around downtown, the modern streetcar line and 4th Avenue, I took these photos to inform our readers. And I put in a quarter, just to test it and it read that I had paid for “12 minutes” just like  regular (gray) City of Tucson parking meters on the streets.

So, if you have spare change, drop it in this meter when you visit the main library, or other locations around town.  More info at www.tucsonchange.org. You can also insert a credit card for any amount of a donation. Hopefully we will hear back later how successful this new program is.

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Tucson City Council: Ill-Conceived Ordinances Wiped from Agenda (video)

Jim Hannley

PDA Tucson Coordinator Jim Hannley speaks against both the crowd management ordinance and the urban camping ban at the City Council meeting.

The Tucson City Council was scheduled to vote on two ill-conceived ordinances at their St. Patrick’s Day meeting this week. The Crowd Management Event ordinance would have given the police chief considerable discretion in controlling groups of 100 or more people. The second ordinance would have outlawed urban camping on all city property, thus criminalizing the homeless.

When word got out via email blasts, Facebook posts, and the blogs, public outrage built against these two measures. Social media posts called for protests and for phone-calling to Council members. A Facebook event to protest the Crowd Management Event ordinance had more than 100 potential attendees on Monday afternoon. An hour before the protest, the Tucson Sentinel reported that the city had  taken that ordinance off the agenda.

Before the Tuesday meeting, 20-30 homeless and homeless advocates gathered outside of the Council chambers. When I arrived with my video camera, one of my homeless Facebook friends told us that Councilman Steve Kozachik had talked with them just a few minutes earlier and said the camping ban ordinance would be tabled.

We went into the meeting anyway because my husband and I had both planned to speak against the ordinances. Between us we represent two major progressive groups– PDA Tucson and the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus– and we wanted the City Council to know that progressives stood against both of these measures.

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Proposed Tucson Ordinances Spark Calls for Protest & Attendance at March 17 City Council Meeting

urban camping

Occupy Tucson tents in Veinte de Agosoto Park.

If your first amendment rights are important to you, you should start watching the Tucson City Council agendas very closely.

Embarrassed by the Safe Park quagmire and the subsequent scolding by the district court judge, City Attorney Mike Rankin wants to crack down … on them and on us.

Thanks to a tip and a Facebook event invite from local activists, I learned about two bad ordinances that were scheduled for tomorrow’s City Council meeting. (See items #13 and #14 on the agenda here.)

Ordiance Prohibiting Camping or City Sidewalks and Other City Property (PDF) seeks to prevent another Safe Park or Occupy Tucson from happening. The memo clearly states that “homelessness is not a crime, and only the conduct of camping, and not the state of homelessness, is prohibited by the Code.” So, where are the homeless supposed to go when there aren’t enough beds in shelters? Are they supposed to camp or sleep on private property– like one of those cute front yards in Armory Park?

Ordinance Providing for the Designation of a “Crowd Management Event” for the Purpose of Maintaining Public Safety (PDF) gives the Tucson police chief sweeping crowd control measures. The ordinance defines a “Crowd Management Event” as “a gathering of 100 or more persons that requires the provision of law enforcement services”; allows the chief to set geographic boundaries for the “Crowd Management Event”; prohibits people from entering or leaving the designated “crowd management” area; prohibits people inside the area from wearing masks or protective gear, like a gas mask. (Hmmm… just like shooting fish in a barrel with that pepper spray. What could go wrong?)

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Bishop Kicanas Calls for Community Meeting on Homelessness

Safe Park

Safe Park, downtown Tucson

Bishop Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson has called for a second public meeting to discuss homeless in Tucson. Here is the information about tomorrow’s meeting.

Background information…

Tuesday, March 10 at 11:00 a.m.

TEP building, 88 E. Broadway between 6th and Scott Avenues
second-floor conference room (entrance faces Broadway near west end of building)

This meeting has been scheduled at the request of Bishop Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson. This is a second meeting– according to Tucson News Now,

The Catholic diocese organized a meeting to discuss the growing homeless population downtown, on Monday afternoon [March 2].

The meeting included city and county leaders, business owners, and leaders from many non-profit groups in Tucson who work with the homeless.

In an interview with Tucson News Now after the meeting, Bishop Gerald Kicanas called on Tucson residents to be compassionate, as the city worked to find a long term solution to address the needs of the homeless, and find a solution that would help business owners who were frustrated with the problem.

The Downtown Tucson Partnership is helping to spread the word. According to DTP executive director Michael Keith, who is involved in developing a program for the meeting, the bishop wishes to “maintain the momentum” of the March 2 meeting as well as other community discussions looking to “move past the Occupy Safe Park issue and begin to look for meaningful strategies to address homelessness across Tucson.”

Keith said Peggy Hutchison, CEO of Primavera Foundation, will present information on the current local situation, and Michele Ream of Community Supported Shelters will share her presentation on scattered-site microhousing efforts in other areas and other “best practices.” The Mayor and Council’s action on March 3 (see below) and the Denver urban camping ordinance will likely be subjects of discussion.

The following is from the action summary of the March 3 Mayor & Council study session (http://www.tucsonaz.gov/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1358&doctype=SUMMARY):

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Tucson: It’s Time to Stop Ignoring the Homeless & Help Them (video)

Occupy Tucson

Public Lands protest on the sidewalk in downtown Tucson during Occupy Tucson. (There is a person in that pile.)

For decades, Tucson has waffled between ignoring the homeless living on our streets and under bridges to over-policing them.

When I moved here in 1981, the politically correct term for Tucson’s homeless was “transient”.

The attitude was: They’re not ‘homeless’, and they’re not ‘bums’. They’re just passing through… transient. Ignore them, and they’ll go away.

Transients were seen by the populace and the local government as another inconvenient byproduct of warm winter weather. They’re like snowbirds and college students but without money, but our capitalistic society has no use for people without money.

By labeling the homeless “transients”, Tucson was able to turn a blind eye toward them. Over the years, Tucson tried to make itself more inhospitable by passing laws prohibiting aggressive panhandling and ending street corner sales of newspapers. Really… we just wanted them to go away, so we wouldn’t have to feel guilty about inaction. With the rise of Safe Park homeless encampment downtown, I fear another round of over-policing is coming, since the city is appealing a court order protecting Safe Park as a free speech protest. For the back story and ideas for the future, keep reading.

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