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NUZ: We Found A Guy Who’s Actually Helping the Homeless

The Ross Camp is over, but a vital storage program avoided catastrophe

Well, that didn’t last long.

The Ross Survival Camp, also known as Camp Phoenix, closed this past Friday, just a few days after it had opened. Given that the city isn’t doing much on homelessness right now, it would not have seemed crazy for Santa Cruz to opt to simply wait and see if the camp could be better run on its second go-round. But, nope. Everyone’s been kicked out, and it’s now going to be that much more likely that you’ll find someone camping in your front lawn, instead of on an empty patch of grass between a department store and a freeway.

FLOOD OF SUPPORT

Friday morning actually looked like it was going be a tough one for DIY homeless efforts.

The same morning that the Ross Camp ended, there was a small flood just on the other side of the pedestrian bridge. A pipe burst at the Day and Night Storage building, as activist Brent Adams announced on Facebook. Adams—who founded the program, as well as the Warming Center shelter—worked with volunteer Nancy Krusoe to clear out bins that house homeless people’s belongings. Adams wrote that just one user out of 250 had their belongings damaged.

It’s worth noting that, because of political infighting, strategic missteps and bureaucratic backlog, the city has not implemented many of the widely popular recommendations that the Homelessness Coordinating Committee brought forward two and a half years ago. One of the suggestions was for a storage program that would give the homeless community a place to put their things. And if it weren’t for Adams’ shoestring operation, Santa Cruz wouldn’t have that, either.

The Warming Center Program is throwing a fundraiser dinner on Friday, Nov. 22, at the 418 Project. Tickets are $45. For more information, visit facebook.com/warmingcenter, email [email protected], or call 588-9892.

WHEEL SEE

With the Street Smarts traffic-safety education campaign rolling out around Santa Cruz County, the California Office of Traffic Safety has awarded three new grants locally. All three grants, totaling $398,000, are going to the county of Santa Cruz—one for bicycle and pedestrian safety, one for impaired driving, and another for child passenger safety. The bike grants will fund classroom presentations on safety, walking field trips and bicycle rodeos in schools, plus distributions of bicycle helmets and lights to low-income community members.

That all seems worthwhile. Nuz certainly hopes the next generation of cyclists and motorists is better than the current ones.

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