SANTA CRUZ THREATENS TO EVICT FOOD NOT BOMBS

January 9, 2022

Food Not Bombs volunteers setting up the shelving

Protest Tuesday, January 11, 2022, noon at Laurel and Front Streets, Santa Cruz, California Let the City of Santa Cruz know how you feel about their hostility towards Food Not Bombs:
citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com

It is 3:30 pm on Friday, January 7, 2022, when I finally get a call from Larry Imwalle, the Santa Cruz City Homelessness Response Manager. He never returned my calls about moving people to higher ground before the Benchlands flood or after my desperate efforts to get two families in to housing. He is paid $150,000 a year to “manage the homeless.”
I was buying two more sets of Industrial Steel Shelving at Home Depot to place in our new shipping container. We are rushing to remove our back stock of rice, lentils and other dry goods from India Joze’s Restaurant before he closes down to make way for a luxury apartment complex to be built in its place.
“I’m following up on our phone conversation a few minutes ago, in which I let you know that the City will require that Food Not Bombs (FNB) vacate Lot 27 by Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 2:00 PM”
Larry tells me as can be read in his email that, “The Pure Water Soquel Construction Project will be working in this area and requires use of Lot 27 and the surrounding area to accomplish the project and stage equipment. “ I suggested he have the project manager call me so we can make this work and pointed out that there is another parking lot next to Wheelworks that is always vacant.
As soon as Larry and I hang up I start getting calls from our volunteers at Lot 27. The police have arrived and are handing out papers saying we have to leave by Tuesday.
This is not the first late Friday afternoon eviction from Lot 27 during our 664 days of sharing meals with the community during the pandemic.
We received notice late Friday, October 2, 2020, that we would have to move to the lot across Front Street because the need to use it to park construction equipment for a levee project. We did move across the street. The city fenced off Lot 27 and three months later not one piece of construction equipment was ever placed on the lot. A New Years Eve march removed the fence and returned it to the police department steps and we have been sharing food there at Lot 27 everyday since.
The police told our volunteers and those camping around our meal that we have to go to the flooded Benchlands.
The number of just evicted is increasing and the increase in those seeking food is shocking but expected as the economy for working people fails. We distributed $2,000 in cheap pup tents in December. It is heartbreaking to see the desperation in peoples faces and learn there is no place for them to sleep. People cry with relief when you hand them their tent.
Our volunteers have been preparing for this increase for months seeking a location for our third shipping container and lining up more sources of food. We have had to increase our orders of paper products and deliveries of dry goods to share with the people at the Benchlands and Depot Park.
If we stopped providing food for even one week it is likely the over 400 people who depend on us every day would be forced to seek extra legal means to meet their needs. This would not be good for anyone.
The city has no business interfering with Food Not Bombs. We are not stopping them from feeding the hungry.
Let the City of Santa Cruz know how you feel about their hostility towards Food Not Bombs:
citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com
Please contact Food Not Bombs at 575-770-3377 or menu@foodnotbombs.net

Dear Keith,
 
I’m following up on our phone conversation a few minutes ago, in which I let you know that the City will require that Food Not Bombs (FNB) vacate Lot 27 by Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 2:00 PM.
 
The factors impacting this decision are as follows:
 
·         The Pure Water Soquel Construction Project will be working in this area and requires use of Lot 27 and the surrounding area to accomplish the project and stage equipment.  Due to the construction project, it will not be safe for FNB to continue its operations in Lot 27, and the City will be closing this property to the public.
·         FNB’s continuous presence in this lot, including storage of the Conex box in the lot, is simply illegal and not permitted by the City.  See SCMC 9.64.030 and SCMC 9.50.010.
 
Accordingly, the City requires that FNB must vacate Lot 27 and remove the shipping container / Conex Box located on Lot 27 by 2:00 pm on Tuesday January 11, 2022.  Failure to take these actions could result in citation, arrest, and/or the City taking action to remove property unlawfully placed or stored at Lot 27.
 
Thank you for your attention to this communication, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
 
Sincerely,
 
Larry
 
Larry Imwalle
Homelessness Response Manager
City Manager’s Office | City of Santa Cruz
809 Center Street, Room 10  | Santa Cruz, CA 95060
831-420-5405
LImwalle@cityofsantacruz.com
 

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