We make this document a Statement of Intent regarding the old Bank of England building on Castle Street, Liverpool. The intentions are as follows to feed, cloth and help all those who seek it and for the local community to help resource this project. We intend to use this building for the community, to inspire a feeling of community, which is lacking. We do this in direct response to a local council and government who are lacking in their efforts to help those in need and in fact, the local Council and government seem intent on making matters worse for the people by putting more and more austerity measures in place. We wish by the direct action of occupying an empty unused building and using said building to provide certain needs for the street people or for that matter anyone else who needs to use what is provided by donations, which come from the local community.
The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, “[Children's] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States.” Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty. Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, and they averaged about$5 a day for their meals before the 2014 farm bill cut $8.6 billion (over the next ten years) from the food stamp program. In 2007 about 12 of every 100 kids were on food stamps. Today it’s 20 of every 100. he U.S. ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. Early education should be a primary goal for the future, as numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps allchildren to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most. But we’re going in the opposite direction.Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history.
A record number of students are homeless. Essential nonprofit organizations are being displaced from the communities they serve. Small, locally owned businesses can’t survive as rents soar. The angst that is swelling throughout San Francisco and pushing outward to other Bay Area cities is not because people are resisting change. The angst is over the largest growing inequality gap in the country. At the forefront of people’s concerns is how much people now have to spend on rent. Market-rate housing is catering to the region’s new wealth, while the government is rolling out policies to make the city a rich man’s playground.
Since December 9, 2014, over 100 of Sacramento’s poor and homeless have lined up every Tuesday for a free organic meal outside the doors of City Hall hosted by the Community Dinner Project, organized by Occupy Sacramento. The food line starts two hours before city council is called to session. Hundreds of Sacramento’s poor line the sidewalk in front of City Hall to share a hot meal. Although these dinners take place on city property, the event is not sanctioned by the city government. In fact, it is expressly forbidden. In October of 2013, the City passed an ordinance requiring all community groups to obtain a permit before sharing food with the homeless. The Community Dinner Project addresses this and other community issues by providing a hot meal and an environment for discussion.
Activists occupied six houses on the Sweets Way estate following a ‘sleepover’ protest. Comedian and actor Russell Brand joined hundreds of people at the housing estate in Whetstone last night, to oppose the redevelopment which has seen families evicted from their homes. He left early this morning. Campaign group Sweets Way Resists has occupied an empty house on the estate since last week, and other activists broke into five more empty houses last night. Housing activist Liam Barrington-Bush, who is involved with Sweets Way Resists, said: “We had some fireworks and there was some music. Then people hung about. At least several dozen stayed the night. “Residents came together at the end of the night and were overwhelmed to find out the petition has now reached 35,000 signatures. We are pretty excited by that. “It’s been a pretty hectic period. There’s been a lot of support coming in from different causes, the strength of the community is the primary thing. Russell pledged to keep the fight going. He has really connected with the kids here.”
Toronto’s mayor says the city will be turning some motel rooms into shelter spaces for the homeless, with at least 90 spaces to open as early as next week. John Tory says the city will be renting blocks of rooms in two Toronto motels in an effort to make extra space available as needed during the cold weather. It will cost roughly $100,000 from now until March, but Tory says it’s just a short-term solution. A report on the city’s homeless shelter system is expected in a few weeks. Four homeless men died in just over a week in the city, three of them due to the frigid weather.
The online hacktivist Anonymous has sent a threatening message to the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SMPV) and Montreal police against bulldozing of a homeless camp set up by Anonymous in Viger Square for OpSafeWinter. In retaliation Anonymous has called for occupy Viger Square movement in which a protest will be held against police activity against homeless people. Anonymous has also asked its supporters to bring with them protective gear such as gas masks, material for building barricades, and anything else that might be useful in defending the encampment should it be attacked by the SPVM (Montreal Police).
The online hacktivist Anonymous has sent a threatening message to the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SMPV) and Montreal police against bulldozing of a homeless camp set up by Anonymous in Viger Square for OpSafeWinter. The purpose of setting up shelter village was to save homeless people the extreme cold weather, but on January 7th, the Montreal police dismantled the camp calming “they are saving lives”. In retaliation Anonymous has called for occupy Viger Square movement in which a protest will be held against police activity against homeless people. Anonymous has also asked its supporters to bring with them protective gear such as gas masks, material for building barricades, and anything else that might be useful in defending the encampment should it be attacked by the SPVM (Montreal Police).
Two Albuquerque police officers are facing murder charges in the shooting death of a homeless man. Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy are accused of police brutality in the March 2013 death of 38-year-old James Boyd. According to reports, criminal charges will be filed against both Perez and Sandy on Monday. In March 2013, the Albuquerque Police Department responded to reports that a homeless man was camping in a restricted zone. As Boyd refused to leave the area, the officers eventually used a flash-bang grenade and a police dog to force him to comply. As reported by KRQU, Boyd continued to refuse the officers’ demands. Perez and Sandy then opened fire. The Albuquerque police officers shot the homeless man a total of three times. Boyd was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. As one of the officers was wearing a helmet camera, the grisly scene was captured on film. The resulting footage went viral within days.
The stories of homelessness told in this series are but a few of thousands unfolding every day in the Nation’s Capital. These photos depict people who told their personal struggles but there were many more who could not or would not tell their story. There are thousands more in the Nation’s Capital whose stories won’t be told. Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 9.33.55 PMThey are extraordinary people who went to school, learned skills, and held jobs. Some owned homes, others paid rent, some are fathers and mothers, others are children. They are the ones abandoned by our society. They have hopes and dreams, families and loves, needs and fears, and…they are a little bit like you and me: they are us.
Byron Hawkins speaks of his most difficult challenge on the street is not living on it but “dealing with fools.” Assaults and fights between the homeless are common as are disputes over choice spots. “I’ve seen more stuff happen here on the streets than the average man.” He speaks of his worst experience in prison and why he knows he’ll never go back. His mother died while he was there and the experience broke his spirit. “They strapped me to a chair in a jacket with my arms pulled around me.” He couldn’t accept that the prison warden would not allow him go to bury his mom, and how hard it was he would never see her again. The prison psychologist sedated him with a shot to calm and put him to sleep. It took seven guards to hold him down. “They kept me there for three days until I broke.” “They didn’t let me out even to go to the bathroom-you s— and p— in this chair until you calm down.” He tells of it as the worst experience of his life.
H-Boy “Homeboy” Poet is a towering slender young man with a few whisks of grey in a curly black beard. His dark unblemished skin is carefully wrapped in a head scarf. His hands are strong with pulsing veins. He wears the clothes he wore last week and the week before, almost never changing. A transplant from the Bronx, he speaks softly and has been living on streets for three years. He writes tiny poems for donations of “whatever people will give.” For him living homelessness is “just another challenge for me to get through.”Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 11.05.56 PM A few days after Christmas he is waiting for a bus near Franklin Park after most of the men have left to get out of the cold.
Anthony, 47 years old, is friendly as he greets me as I pass through McPherson, on Christmas. “What have you got for me,” he asks? His companion, ‘Chico’, is an obedient mixed Pit Bull and looks up suspiciously as I go through my bag to find something for him to eat. Chico stands close to him, eyeing me with a worried look and afraid to leave Anthony’s side.Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 9.34.27 AM The street has been harsh to Both Anthony and Chico, who has a human like quality and wears his master’s suffering on his face. Anthony agrees to let me take his picture but only if I’ll give him something other than food.
Anthony, 47 years old, is friendly as he greets me as I pass through McPherson, on Christmas. “What have you got for me,” he asks? His companion, ‘Chico’, is an obedient mixed Pit Bull and looks up suspiciously as I go through my bag to find something for him to eat. Chico stands close to him, eyeing me with a worried look and afraid to leave Anthony’s side. The street has been harsh to Both Anthony and Chico, who has a human like quality and wears his master’s suffering on his face. Anthony agrees to let me take his picture but only if I’ll give him something other than food. “Everyone is giving out food but I need money and clothes,” he says.
Its dusk on Christmas Eve. A white van of Samaritans stops at the corner of Eye Street. On queue the men shuffle to its hatch and line up. She opens its side door at the curb. At McPherson the men linger late into the night, waiting for food, gloves, hats, and tonight’s menu: steamy soup and flowered biscuits. In it they find temporary salvation. The soup steams in the night and smells sweet with rosemary. Samaritans leave a few extra portions on the ledge of the escalators for the latecomers, but most of it is abandoned or left for pigeons. Later on the subway cleaning staff will discard it.