Housing & Homelessness (News)

Council hears plight of homeless

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 11:08am

JHomeless profileoseph Valencia has appealed the City for help in providing a shelter for himself and other homeless people in town.

During the public comment period of last week’s City Council meeting, a homeless man named Joseph Valencia appealed for a new shelter in Martinez. “We’ve got homeless people out there, like myself, who can’t find shelter and we are stuck out in the cold, literally,” said Valencia. “I’ve tried to locate a homeless shelter and it’s true that there is a shelter in Concord – they’re full. Shelters in Richmond – they’re full. We need a shelter or location in Martinez where a homeless person can get warm, get a place to sleep where they don’t have to worry about being murdered, raped, robbed. A safe haven to go to. Our problem is we don’t have money, we don’t have a house, we can’t find employment.”  


Black renters raise tensions in Bay Area

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/26/2009 - 12:48pm

ANTIOCH, Calif. - As more and more black renters began moving into this mostly white San Francisco Bay Area suburb a few years ago, neighbors started complaining about loud parties, mean pit bulls, blaring car radios, prostitution, drug dealing and muggings of schoolchildren.

In 2006, as the influx reached its peak, the police department formed a special crime-fighting unit to deal with the complaints, and authorities began cracking down on tenants in federally subsidized housing.

Now that police unit is the focus of lawsuits by black families who allege the city of 100,000 is orchestrating a campaign to drive them out.

Resistance to Housing Foreclosures Spreads Across the Land

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/26/2009 - 12:27pm

"This is a crowd that won't scatter," James Steele wrote in the pages of The Nation some seventy-five years ago. Early one morning in July 1933, the police had evicted John Sparanga and his family from a home on Cleveland's east side. Sparanga had lost his job and fallen behind on mortgage payments. The bank had foreclosed. A grassroots "home defense" organization, which had managed to forestall the eviction on three occasions, put out the call, and 10,000 people -- mainly working-class immigrants from Southern and Central Europe -- soon gathered, withstanding wave after wave of police tear gas, clubbings and bullets, "vowing not to leave until John Sparanga [was] back in his home."

Stimulus Should Target Low-Income Urban Areas

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/26/2009 - 12:23pm

The $700-plus billion recovery package being hashed out in Congress has tremendous potential to revive the American economy. But if it moves ahead as designed, I fear it will also further entrench many long-standing inequities of American life.

Advocates for working families welcome Washington's long-overdue interest in our national infrastructure. President-elect Barack Obama and congressional leaders are right to spotlight the deplorable conditions of our roads and bridges.

But potholes on mega-highways are far from the most consequential infrastructure shortfalls facing America.

In low-income urban neighborhoods and rural areas across America, residents are facing the dramatic crumbling of their schools, water lines and public transit systems - the very lifeblood of these communities. This is not simply a matter of inconvenience. Communities like Richmond, West Oakland and San Francisco's Visitacion Valley are being literally cut off from true economic and social opportunity.

Low-income housing complex gets planners' OK

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/26/2009 - 12:11pm

SAN LEANDRO — A 100-unit rental apartment complex for lower-income tenants — described by detractors as a potential "ghetto" and by backers as "the right thing to do for our citizens" — received solid backing from San Leandro's seven planning commissioners Thursday.

The project next to the downtown BART station, the cornerstone of San Leandro's transit-oriented development philosophy, now goes to the City Council on March 2 for a final vote.


Communities Foreclosed

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/19/2009 - 11:50pm

As soon as he told her they wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage, Ruben Loera’s wife’s heart clenched. She started packing away the angels and pulling down the paintings. Five months later and one step away from foreclosure, half-empty boxes are piled in a corner of the living room in their home in Maryvale, a suburb of Phoenix, Ariz.

Once a crime magnet, Richmond neighborhood changing

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 01/12/2009 - 12:34pm

Battered old cars used to roll slow past Nevin Park, every inch dusty except for the gleaming new rims. When the sun went down — or any time, really — tired women dressed too skimpy for the weather peeked out from under dingy awnings.Richmond

The usual crowd sipped from bagged bottles, or leaned through the windows of scrapers stopped in the middle of the street, while homeless from the shelter down the block shuffled past.

John Spradlin, who manages the last surviving restaurant off Richmond's lower Macdonald Avenue, once regarded his stretch of Fourth Street as "a kind of barometer for crime" in the city. And the cinderblock facade of La Perla Mexican Deli did occupy a space in the backdrop of innumerable street crimes over the years, in the heart of the Iron Triangle neighborhood.

But not so much any more.

Reports of serious crime fell more than 15 percent in Richmond in 2008 from the previous year, evidence of persistent community effort, attentive policing and recent government emphasis on rebuilding the city's urban core. Nowhere does that change seem more palpable than the once-infamous corner of Fourth and Macdonald.



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