Check out www.sbcw.org for information on the St. Benedict Catholic Worker in Fresno CA .
City of Fresno to Pay $2.3 Million to Settle Homeless Case
FRESNO – On June 6, 2008 the city of Fresno agreed to a $2.3 million settlement in Kincaid vs. Fresno to compensate for its policy of destroying the property of the homeless in unconstitutional raids.
A legal team headed by Paul Alexander of Heller Ehrman included lawyers from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the ACLU of Northern California . They presented overwhelming evidence that led to summary judgment on key issues. Last year, Alexander's team won a preliminary restraining order that halted the city's unconstitutional raids.
Liza Apper of the St. Benedict Catholic Worker, who was an expert witness for the plaintiffs, was named by the court as the "Settlement Administrator" in today's settlement.
The mayor of the city of Fresno has never taken responsibility for the city's unconstitutional policies and practices calling the settlement "white collar exploitation of the homeless." The mayor was referring to those who advocated for the homeless in this statement, not downtown development interests that pushed the city to remove the homeless from a potential redevelopment area.
The video link below documents the city's unconstitutional practice of destroying the property of the homeless while they were at lunch at Poverello House: http://www.sbcw.org/video/iwishihadanickel.wmv. The video shows city workers crushing carts filled with personal possessions of the homeless--carts left outside Poverello House while the owners were inside for lunch.
Federal Judge Rebukes City of Fresno--Protects Homeless Residents
FRESNO – On November 22 a federal judge ruled that the city of Fresno 's policy of destroying the property of the homeless is unconstitutional.
Over the last year, the city has carried out raids, destroying clothing, medication, tents and blankets, as well as irreplaceable personal possessions, such as family photographs, personal records and documents. (Click here for video of city crushing carts filled with personal possessions of the homeless--carts left outside Poverello House while the owners were inside for lunch.)
Full coverage of the four-day hearing, including testimony from the Catholic Worker and victims of the city's policy, can be found in the following news report by Mike Rhodes:
Independent Media Center Report by Mike Rhodes http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/11/23/18332519.php
Brookings Institution report on concentrated poverty (PDF)-- Fresno has the highest rate of concentrated urban poverty in the United States .
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs