(Update 10/10/16 Green Party VP candidate Ajamu Baraka had to cancel all of his Florida stops and will not be speaking at our Tampa press conference.)
FLORIDA HOMELESSNESS ACTION COALITION MEDIA ADVISORY
For October 10, 2016
For Immediate Release October 7, 2016
Homeless Rights Campaign to Kickoff with VP Candidate and Food Sharing Icon
#stopthecriminalization #decriminalizehomelessness #stopthehate
What: Green Party Vice Presidential candidate, Ajamu Baraka, and Arnold Abbott, who made international headlines for his multiple arrests in 2014 for sharing food with homeless persons in Fort Lauderdale, will be among the featured speakers as Florida Homelessness Action Coalition (FLHAC), a grassroots homeless advocacy coalition including organizers from Pensacola to Miami, announces its campaign to bring a Homeless Bill of Rights to the Florida Legislature in 2017. Press events will take place in four Florida cities to introduce the campaign to the public. (Please also see supplemental attachments including current and previous press release PDF’s; Speakers list PDF; Draft bill/Endorsers PDF; Campaign Flyer front and back; Statement on why we need a Homeless Bill of Rights PDF.) Link to Bill and Endorsers: http://fhbor.blogspot.com/; Facebook Campaign page: https://www.facebook.com/flhbor/
When: All locations: Monday, October 10, 2016, 10am (World Homeless Day)
Where: Four Florida cities as follows (locations subject to change)
Fort Lauderdale: Stranahan Park, 10 East Broward Boulevard (on SE 1st Ave. adjacent to park)
Tampa: Homeless Helping Homeless, Inc., 3000 North Florida Avenue
Orlando: Orlando City Hall, 400 South Orange Avenue
Pensacola: Pensacola City Hall, 222 West Main Street
Contacts: Campaign Lead Organizer in Fort Lauderdale: Jeff Weinberger, October 22nd Alliance to End Homelessness, 954-839-5376, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tampa/St. Pete: Rev. Bruce Wright, Refuge Ministries, 727-278-1547, email@example.com; Pensacola: Michael Kimberl, Sean’s Outpost, 850-287-0792, firstname.lastname@example.org; Orlando: Teresa Pugliese, Speak Up Florida!, 407-985-6164, email@example.com
Florida cities have led the nation in passing laws banning activities and behaviors including sitting and lying down, camping and sleeping (including in vehicles), panhandling/begging, loitering, storing personal property in public space, performing bodily functions (in the absence of public restrooms), food sharing and more. Despite their unconstitutional nature, their costliness relative to providing housing and vital social services, and their utter failure in terms of addressing the root causes of homelessness or alleviating this inhumane reality, the proliferation of laws criminalizing homelessness persists. A Florida Homeless Bill of Rights is urgently needed for the protection of the rights of society’s most vulnerable population, and for the achievement of the broader social aims of ending homelessness and confronting systemic class, racial, and other forms of inequality which intersect with homelessness.
FLHAC formed in the wake of the National Coalition for the Homeless’ first ever conference of grassroots homeless advocates, which took place in Denver in April, 2015. FLHAC has been organizing two important projects in advance of today’s announcement. The first, a research study on the criminalization of homelessness in Florida, is due to be published later in October, 2016. The second is the Florida Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign, which is an effort to amend the Florida Statutes 1) by calling for the decriminalization of ostensibly constitutionally protected and/or life-sustaining activities and behaviors of people experiencing homelessness throughout Florida; and 2) by asserting fundamental rights to housing, health care, employment or income, and more, as defined in the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties.