Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Loaves takes lead in third "Safe Ground" event

A clock on the homepage of Loaves & Fishes' website counts down the seconds until 10AM on July 1 when a "March for Safe Ground," featuring Papa Roach, will begin at the intersection of 12th & Ahern.

"12th & Ahern" is really the parking lot of L&F's Delany Center, according to where a pin is placed in L&F's map of the spot. In the back of the Center, several of us have seen the construction and temporary instalation of pod-like geodesic tent structures made from corrugated polypropylene, dubbed LibbyPods, which are clearly going to play a part in the First of the Month event. [The pods are actually World Shelter U-Domes which retail for $2,495.]

There have previously been Safe Ground events on December 23, 2008, and on April 21, 2009. The December event was a march from the Loaves & Fishes facility to Ceasar Chavez Park, downtown, where a rally was held. The April 21 event was a rally at the state capitol.

One distinctive and troubling difference between the two past rallies was the definition given by L&F as to what safe ground means. SacHo addressed the matter in a blogpost last April: Last December it meant "a ... location where the homeless can camp legally with access to basic needs such as running water, toilets, and trash cans. Safe Ground does not yet exist." Whereas in April safe ground had eroded to mean "safe campground(s) where homeless folks can have running water, bathrooms, and trash services until our City, County and State are willing and able to provide adequare shelters and affordable housing for the growing numbers of homeless folks due to our depressed economic times."

How is safe ground defined now, for the July 1 event? Hard to say. The webpage at the Loaves & Fishes webspace has the eroded April definition, while a flyer that was briefly posted at L&F's Friendship Park seemed to be using the December definition. [The eroded definition would mean that a Safe Ground encampment would be disbanded in the event of unfull shelters or general recovery from hard economic times.]

A new website, solely for Safe Ground Sacramento, has been created by joint auspices of Loaves & Fishes; Francis House; and the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee (aka, Paula Lomazi). [See their business-card-like logo, at right.] Neither the L&F webpage nor the new website are founts of information about what the promised rally-followed-by-a-march on the 1st will entail nor what effect the event will have on regular daily services for the homeless at the Loave & Fishes facility on that date.

Unreliable rumor has it that the L&F facility plans to close early on the morning of the 1st. Breakfast burritos will be served and bag lunches will be given to those coming to the facility for food.

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