RIGHTS 2A ROOF OPEN CALL
By L.J. Cirilo
Are you homeless, formerly homeless, ever resided in a shelter in San Francisco, or just plain disgusted by our city’s lack of affordable housing? Have you ever been mistreated or discriminated against while residing in a shelter, or been denied services from a shelter, know someone who has, or have a disability and been denied an accommodation? Then WE WANT YOU! Come to the Rights 2a Roof workgroup and join us in our struggle to demand better treatment, improve the shelter system, and force our law makers to make the creation of more affordable housing for all homeless a priority! We, the members of Right 2a Roof, have fought long and hard and have won many battles with the City of San Francisco and will continue to do so until every single man, woman and child living outside, in a car or doubled up in someone else’s garage or SRO, are provided permanent affordable housing! This is a human right and we demand our government to recognize the plight of the poor and say, “This is unacceptable!” No one should ever have to sleep outside, on a cold and wet concrete slab, under a bridge, or in a tent city just because they are poor and cannot afford the exorbitant rent in San Francisco. We as a community cannot and should not accept this. We at the Coalition on Homeless do not accept this. Currently, several homeless services are on the chopping block in an effort to balance this year’s budget. We at Right 2a Roof say “No more cuts! We have no bone marrow for you!”
Over the past several years Rights 2a Roof has successfully created 32 standards of care for all city funded shelters, passed legislation to halt the runaround by lengthening shelter stays, and we also recently won a lawsuit that led to greatly improved access and conditions for people with disabilities. We worked hard to pass the Shelter Monitoring Committee legislation which now ensures that each city funded shelter is inspected and that the conditions of the shelters are tracked, which has succeeded in exposing and correcting countless problems within the shelter system.
However, our work is not done. Currently we are working on ending the biometric imaging that makes it mandatory for all shelter seekers to have their picture taken, along with thumbprint imaging just to get a bed to sleep in. We are also going to the ballot this November to seek the removal of shelter from the definition of housing for Care Not Cash recipients, and to have a more equitable bed ratio for people who are not on the Care Not Cash program, thus decreasing the amount of time someone must stand in line to get a shelter bed. We are also conducting a housing survey to gain valuable information from those that are currently homeless, in order to shed light on the many obstacles which prevent people from accessing real affordable low-income and permanent housing. We at Rights 2a Roof are a dedicated group of homeless and formerly homeless folks who are working hard to ensure a safe and welcoming shelter system for homeless individuals and families where human, disability and civil rights are up held, where respectful staffing reflects the diversity of the community served and where there is accountability to the standards of care. We need your help – Come join the struggle!
We meet every Wednesday from noon to 2:00pm at the Coalition on Homelessness, 468 Turk St. For more information go to our website: http://www.cohsf.org or contact Right 2a Roof at (415)346-3740