March to Counter the Criminalization of Homelessness in West SFV
Tuesday, August 1 at 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
We will be meeting at the corner of Ventura Blvd and DeSoto Ave at 5:30pm. March begins at 6pm. The march will end at Gateway Plaza at the intersection of Ventura Blvd and Topanga Canyon Blvd where we will demonstrate and rally.
We will be meeting at the corner of Ventura Blvd and DeSoto Ave at 5:30pm. March begins at 6pm.
Counter march and protest points along Ventura Blvd during National Night Out in response to Concerned Residents of Woodland Hills event - March to Raise Awareness of Criminal Panhandling in the West Valley*: "to bring the issue of increased safety concerns from criminal panhandlers within the West San Fernando Valley to the attention of elected officials. The desired end result being to enforce existing laws and encourage the allocation of financial and law enforcement resources to effectively resolve the problem."
The NIMBY residents say they want to help our homeless neighbors, but don't want to see "those people" in "their neighborhood".
We object to that messaging on the grounds that it just has the effect of criminalizing homelessness and not addressing the underlying causes of our housing crisis with rents that are out of control, increasing poverty, and addiction. Calling upon law enforcement to addresss these problems does not resolve them but makes them worse and creates more problems. The city budget has already allocated millions more to LAPD for next year, we don't need or want more funds and resources allocated.
We reject the messaging of that event which implies that crime is a significant or increasing problem associated with panhandling. We reject the intention to address any such problems with a law enforcement response rather than meeting the needs with housing, social services, and treatment.
We reject the myth that homelessness is significantly associated with mental illness or addiction. According LAHSA, only 30 percent of people experiencing homelessness claim to suffer from mental illness, and only 23 percent report substance abuse. Since there is some crossover there (people can answer yes to both questions), it's safe to say that a majority of people experiencing homelessness are neither mentally ill nor drug addicts.
We reject the implication that people going through homelessness do not want help. Almost everyone wants permanent housing, and there often are barriers to participating in shelters. The fact is that if every homeless person wanted to get help tomorrow, there wouldn't be anywhere near the capacity to help them.
We will march peacefully with the NIMBYs carrying signs that include various counter messages that support our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. The march will end at Gateway Plaza at the intersection of Ventura Blvd and Topanga Canyon Blvd where we will demonstrate and rally.