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Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:21 PM

Fresno Homeless Big Sue's Funeral.. how does a city get away with the slow killing of it's homeless

Big Sue, who was a homeless advocate and homeless herself, was given a funeral today that started at the place of her death, outside the gate of the Poverello House (a homeless center in Fresno). About 100 homeless people, family members, and friends followed the hearse to Broadway and San Benito where services were held at a homeless ministry run by Ray Polk, who is also homeless.
Photo below: Minister Ray Polk with Big Sue’s daughter Suzzanne. The baby is Big Sue’s grandson.



Ray Polk holds placard that will be with the other many placards of the Homeless who have died. The placards are one of the only thing left of the Homeless encampments.




The context of Big Sue’s death is important to know about if you want to understand the circumstances of her death. Big Sue, like hundreds of other homeless people in Fresno, had no shelter following the City of Fresno assault on their shelters. City crews have destroyed almost every tent and shelter in downtown Fresno, returned to take homeless peoples sleeping bags, extinquished the fires that keep them warm and forced them to sleep on the cold hard sidewalks.

Big Sue died on December 28, on the sidewalk in front of the Poverello House, on a day when temperatures where below freezing. Dozens of homeless people have pneumonia and Community Hospital has had to lock their emergency room doors, because so many people are trying to seek medical attention.

Just last Thursday, City of Fresno crews were destroying homeless peoples property on Santa Clara Street. See: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/01/12/18704665.php

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Reply Fresno Homeless Big Sue's Funeral.. how does a city get away with the slow killing of it's homeless (Original post)
annm4peace Jan 2012 OP
annm4peace Jan 2012 #1
MadHound Jan 2012 #2
Rex Jan 2012 #3
msongs Jan 2012 #4
annm4peace Jan 2012 #6
annm4peace Jan 2012 #5
Honeycombe8 Jan 2012 #7
Sirveri Jan 2012 #14
Honeycombe8 Jan 2012 #16
annm4peace Jan 2012 #8
annm4peace Jan 2012 #9
EFerrari Jan 2012 #18
Tsiyu Jan 2012 #10
Louisiana1976 Jan 2012 #11
burrowowl Jan 2012 #12
annm4peace Jan 2012 #13
Trillo Jan 2012 #23
T S Justly Jan 2012 #15
Beacool Jan 2012 #17
EFerrari Jan 2012 #19
Bozita Jan 2012 #20
limpyhobbler Jan 2012 #21
cutlassmama Jan 2012 #22

Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:24 PM

1. And today.. the City officials of Fresno celebrate MLK day.. but it is very, very hollow.




See the images of what City of Fresno does for the HOmeless. It doesn't match their words

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/09/18702227.php






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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:26 PM

2. Truly a tragedy,

 

But this is nothing new, but rather part of an ongoing war on the homeless that's been going on for thirty years and more. Nor is it confined to Fresno, but it is being carried out across the country.

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:27 PM

3. America...meh.

Land of the homeless and downtrodden. I guess it is easier to let people die, then to try and come up with solutions to fix the homeless crisis in this country. Very sad.

We are all such insignificant numbers to our stewards.

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:31 PM

4. it's not the "city" it is the people who live in the city who tolerate this nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:39 PM

6. It is the "City" making the policy

The public is misinformed and lied to.


There is only one talk radio station and it has been extremely neo con for the last 20 years.. the corp main newspaper continues to also do the neo-con's bidding.

It is very hard to get the word out. Unless a person reads Mike Rhodes progressive newspaper Community Alliance or listen to 88.1 Free Speech TV.. or watch the Catholic channel that airs a show that exposes the abuse on the Homeless.. the public doesn't know..

The public in Fresno are just trying to survive. They've had unemployment over 15% for the last 15 years.. less then 1/2 the homes in fresno are primary owned.

It will take outside help from the STate or Feds to stop the abuse.

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:34 PM

5. REad the insincere comments by City officials

It is amazing how much they lie and get away with it.

HOw many cities are there that get away with killing off their homeless ?

How many State GA's ignore what is happening to it's citizens?

The Democrats have been in charge in CA for about a year.. so why is the City of Fresno and CALTRANS still destroying the last little bit of shelter that the Homeless in Fresno have. There is no room at the shelters even if they do adhear to their laws.
There aren't any psych hospitals in fresno for the mentally ill.

Here is the article.. it makes me sick to read the lies by the city officials.

http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/15/2684751/fresno-homeless-death-sparks-renewed.html

The city should make it legal for people to live somewhere, Rhodes said. "Don't harass them, chase them from one vacant lot to another."

The dismantling of three downtown homeless camps in October and November displaced about 300 people, leaving them vulnerable to the elements, the advocates say. About one-third of those had been placed in housing as of the end of December, the city said.

Advocates are asking the city to allow the homeless who remain on the streets to camp downtown while a policy is developed for longer-term encampments. The city-sanctioned camps would include basic services -- drinking water, portable toilets and garbage collection.

The final phase of the proposal would include a transitional shelter for the homeless, most likely in a city- or county-owned building.

"The goal is not to create a permanent ghetto or slum area, but to help improve people's lives until they can get into permanent and decent housing," Rhodes said.

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:49 PM

7. If she died sleeping on sidewalk in front of shelter, why didn't she go inside?

I've read stories where homeless say they won't go to shelters because they're dangerous. Was that why Sue didn't go inside? Or was it full, I wonder?

I can see why the city would clear off makeshift encampments and put out fires. The open fires are dangerous, and the encampments are unsightly, would attract rodents, and such. It's not like any other city, since I read that Fresno has the largest homeless population of any in the nation. So what would be a small problem for one city would become a big problem in Fresno.

The story in the link says the city was sweeping encampments, not shelters, unless I missed that part. They swept shelters several years ago, as well as encampments, and ended up paying a lot of money to the homeless for the loss of their possessions. Some of the homeless were relocated, but they apparently couldn't handle or find locations for most of them.

This recession has compounded already existing problems. It's a sad situation. I'd want to keep my few possessions, if I became homeless. What a blow, to lose almost everything except a few things, and then to lose those last few things. Here in Dallas, the homeless keep their possessions with them. They use grocery carts, dollies, backpacks, whatever. They don't leave anything anywhere. If the city didn't sweep it, someone else would take it.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 02:42 AM

14. From my limited research Povarello has maybe 20 beds. There are well over 100 homeless in the area.

As for the rest, you're joking right?

Open fires when they're in an empty dirt lot under an underpass threaten no one. They also are just tearing down shelters without doing anything for the people actually in those shelters. As for being unsightly, it's Fresno, the entire town is unsightly, not to mention that they're right next to the industrial sectors of the city which won't get much more pretty.

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Response to Sirveri (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 18, 2012, 10:31 PM

16. No, I'm not.

Open fires anywhere are dangerous. The wind blows sparks around. Any clothing or other item could catch fire. People could walk off leaving smoldering campfires. In most cities it's against the law to start an open fire outside.

The article said the city was sweeping encampments. I didn't see a reference to shelters. I read another article, though, of several years ago...the city bulldozed shelters there several years ago, in addn to encampments. So I don't see where there would've been many shelters left after that. The city was sued for that, and Fresno had to pay a lot of $$$ to the homeless people for destroying their belongings. Also, it said that the city had relocated a lot of the homeless people, but was unable to relocate most of them because there were just too many. The article said that Fresno has more homeless people than any in the nation.

I can see where it is a problem that the city is trying to address because of the sheer number of homeless. They don't have just a few people camping here and there. They have thousands.

Destroying shelters and encampments isn't the answer. But neither is letting this situation continue. It's a problem for everyone concerned.

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 03:59 PM

8. Please watch the video

you don't leave people without any shelter or sleeping bags and blankets.

I wish I could figure out how to post "indymedia" video onto Youtube so I could upload.

This group has been trying to advocate for the homeless and stop the abuse for awhile but still the abuse continues

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/21/18703199.php

Over 100 people attended a Press Conference today in front of Fresno City Hall to call on the city to stop the police and City Sanitation departments ongoing attacks against the homeless. Spokesperson Bill Simon, chairperson of the Bishop John Steinbock Homeless Advocacy Committee said the city has destroyed homeless peoples shelter and is now taking and destroying their blankets, winter coats, and even taking firewood that they use to keep themselves warm at night. Video below: 13:31 minutes


This was the announcement about the Press Conference sent out to the media:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2011

Contact: Bill Simon, Bishop John Steinbock Homeless Advocacy Committee, 227-6565

PRESS CONFERENCE: HOMELESSNESS IN FRESNO

Wednesday, 12-21-11
10:30 am
City Hall, 2600 N Fresno St.

The City of Fresno, since October 27, 2011, has illegally, immorally, and meanly attacked the homeless community in Fresno. As members of the Faith Community in Fresno, members of many different Houses of Worship, we are deeply disturbed by the City's flagrant disregard of law and its failure to serve the common good, especially as the common good effects the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society.

In violation of the 2008 Federal Court Order, the City is destroying homeless people's property, including sleeping bags, blankets, urns with the ashes of relatives, and even winter coats. At 3:00 am the police department is extinguishing warming fires and confiscating firewood and making people move away from the sidewalks near Poverello House.

We will hold an interfaith press conference on Wednesday, December 21, and call on the City to stop violating the law and to stop making the difficult lives of the homeless even more difficult. We must love our neighbor and practice the ancient "Golden Rule".

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 04:04 PM

9. Incase you want to contact the Mayor of Fresno

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Response to annm4peace (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:24 PM

18. @MayorSwearengin

You know, she told me there were more accommodations after that big sweep. But she neglected to say they were horizontal.

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 06:46 PM

10. A kick for Big Sue



If anyone knows how to save Indymedia files and put into youtube format please put the video in the thread.

Thanks.


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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 08:54 PM

11. K&R!

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 09:25 PM

12. K&R

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 12:55 AM

13. On Opinion in Fresno Bee newspaper

http://fresnobeehive.com/opinion/2012/01/under_the_overpass.html


Big Sue was just one person who is chronically homeless. There will be others who will die from the elements as there hasn't been a change for the better. The City continues to take shelter.

The verses of "Amazing Grace" rang out from beneath a freeway overpass in downtown Fresno this morning, as family and friends of Sharen "Big Sue" Bobbitt paid a final farewell to the woman who has become a symbol of Fresno's homeless struggle. The mourners marched behind a hearse carrying Big Sue's body from the Poverello House in west Fresno to the "Homeless Church" at an underpass near San Benito Avenue and Broadway.

Other than freeway traffic whizzing above at 65 MPH, this could have been any other Fresno funeral. A pulpit was set up and mourners sat in chairs on uneven pavement as pastors, family members and friends told of Big Sue's commitment to her homeless brothers and sisters. They sang hymns, recited Bible passages and talked about God's plan for everyone, including the homeless.




ig Sue, 59, died Dec. 28 on the street, where she had helped numerous others cope with the daily struggles of not having permanent housing. She had opportunities to stay with family members or to live in an apartment, but she said her place was on the street helping other homeless. She looked for ways to find them shelter, even if she wouldn't find it for herself.

Former Mayor Alan Autry was among those who spoke at the service, saying that Big Sue was an important sounding board for him on homeless issues when he was in office. Autry said he made some mistakes in dealing with the homeless during his tenure and Big Sue was quick to point them out. She also offered him advice on how to handle the difficult problem. Like the others who spoke, he said he was better for knowing Big Sue.

She was part of the city's homeless task force and worked with Naomi's House, which was a shelter that also offered services for homeless women. She counseled on the street, and many she had helped were among those in this morning's funeral procession.

I knew her through a close friend who is Big Sue's cousin. I met other family members -- cousins, aunts, her daughters and grand-daughters. They did what they could over the years to get her off the street. Sometimes she would crash at their houses, but it didn't last long. Family members who loved her dearly were frustrated that Big Sue didn't ever picture herself in permanent housing. She suffered from mental illness, family members said, and that compounded her personal issues.

In our short conversations, she told me about her work with the homeless and she occasionally called me at the office to give me an update on the homeless problems in Fresno. There was always more that she needed to do. She sounded in control, as she discussed her plans to help Fresno's homeless. But we knew life on the street was not easy, especially when you're approaching 60 and have health problems.

Big Sue saw her life among the homeless as a calling, and she wasn't going to have it any other way. She was one of them until the last breath she took three days after Christmas.

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Response to annm4peace (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 01:03 PM

23. "She suffered from mental illness, family members said"

Is that common? For family members to project mental illness onto those who don't make the same social decisions as themselves?

As I was reading though this, what struck me was how any solution is viewed as temporary. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Why not grant the homeless the same things granted to American Indians? A reservation, where they may live permanently?

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 07:07 AM

15. An absolutely pathetic class of politicians are in charge pretty much everywhere these days. K&R

 

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:10 PM

17. So, what does the city plan to do with its homeless?

Do the city authorities think that by taking their few belongings the homeless will just disappear into thin air? I don't get their logic.

It just seems so cruel and unnecessary, particularly in winter.

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Response to Beacool (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 18, 2012, 11:27 PM

19. Yes, that is their solution.

It's criminal.

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 12:36 AM

20. K&R for Big Sue ... RIP

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 12:45 AM

21. wish I could say this was shocking. unfortunately it has become the norm in america I guess. nt

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Response to annm4peace (Original post)

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 12:57 AM

22. K&R

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