San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..
Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  
San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  
Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..

Berkeley Mourns The Passing of a Homeless Activist, Guy “Mike” Lee is Dead at 65

The “passionate” community activist fought for street justice and once ran for mayor.

By: Tim Houchen
August 5, 2020 —

Bay Area homeless activist, Guy “Mike” Lee, has died in Berkeley at the age of 65. Lee, aka “Sam Spade” to his many Facebook friends and followers, was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and had recently been hospitalized for his debilitating respiratory condition.

Lee was an ardent community activist and a passionate advocate and defender of homeless rights. He led protests and participated in the occupation of People’s Park and proudly served as a member of HAWG, (Homeless Advocacy Working Group) that established policies and monitored how homeless people were treated and often abused in the City of Oakland. Lee sued Berkeley for violating his first amendment rights after police allegedly confiscated and later destroyed personal property in the process of disbanding the homeless encampment he lived in.

Mike moved to the Bay Area from Portland, Oregon when he was a teenager, but spent the majority of his life living on the streets of Berkeley. In 2018, Mike moved into an apartment by way of the Coordinated Entry System, which prioritizes the transition of homeless individuals into permanent housing based on vulnerabilities due to age and physical health conditions.

In 2016, Lee ran for mayor of Berkeley on a platform focused on homelessness and affordable housing. With $100 in his campaign war chest, he narrated a dialogue that provoked the confrontation of issues of homelessness across the entire field of mayoral candidates. Without the participation of Lee, issues regarding homelessness in Berkeley may not have been hot topics for discussion during the campaigns of other candidates for mayor that year.

“I am saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Mike Lee. Mike dedicated his life to fighting for justice and cared deeply about Berkeley,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín in a statement. “He worked to protect People’s Park, save our Downtown Berkeley Post Office and was a powerful and effective voice for the homeless.”

According to Arreguín, Lee’s 2016 campaign for mayor made the needs of the homeless population a central focus for Berkeley. Arreguín added that Lee’s activism resulted in policies and programs to help the most vulnerable people in the city.

Derrick Soo, a friend and fellow advocate to Mike Lee, had worked together in Oakland. Lee’s vision was to implement a pilot project for “tiny homes” and to re-instate the self-governed city-sanctioned 77th Ave. Rangers homeless encampment in Oakland. Soo is determined to continue working to make both projects regional models to share with other municipalities to help them address affordable housing shortages.

When Soo shared his aspirations of running for mayor in Oakland, Lee offered him encouragement. Soo is now more determined than ever and dead-set on making a run for the mayor’s office in the future.

This is an example of how Mike Lee inspired others in life. Remembering him gives hope that his life will continue to inspire others in the future.

Candice Elder of the East Oakland Collective worked with Lee over the past few years. She remembers Lee as a “fierce force to be reckoned with when it came to advocating and organizing for the unhoused population.”

“He was always ready to hold elected officials accountable,” says Elder.

“He was very outspoken and always willing to go down into the homeless encampments to help and protect the most vulnerable residents.”

Lee was critical of what he called, the social services industrial complex and he always expected a greater contribution from society and government towards homeless solutions.

Lee said this about the current systems that deliver homeless services and care to persons experiencing homelessness.

“The basic message is to teach homeless people you have to be helpless,” said Lee. “We have a system that is broken. It has no priorities. Their only solutions are criminalization or charity.”

“My focus is to provide a hand up and not a hand out,” Lee once said.

The story of Guy “Mike” Lee should inspire persons experiencing homelessness and their advocates everywhere to become more active in the process of creating solutions that end homelessness.

Mike once said, “In order to solve this problem we must include the expert opinion of the homeless themselves. When you need a tooth pulled do you go to an expert or an auto mechanic?”

The pure wisdom and persistence of Guy “Mike” Lee will remain in the memories of the many people that he helped and defended for a very long time.

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Guy “Mike” Lee
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11 Comments on "Berkeley Mourns The Passing of a Homeless Activist, Guy “Mike” Lee is Dead at 65"

  1. Sam I will miss you and your wisdom and wit. You always brought a smile to my face. Thank you for your guidance and love. You will never be forgotten.💙🌹

  2. Amber Rittenhouse | August 5, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Reply

    You will be missed Sam ❤️🥰

  3. Sam Spade, you spoke truth to power, fought with love, and brought our community forward. You are loved. We remember your passion . We continue this work, with your memory & legacy in our hearts. Rest in peace, friend.

  4. Can we just call out mayor Jesse on his bs and realize that Sam would be cussing him out for tryna pretend they were ever buddy-buddy? Tf dude you caused or exacerbated most of the issues Sam had to fight against

  5. Total badass who inspired me as a lad in People’s Park in the early 90s. RIP.

  6. farewell,Mike. you were a force to be reckoned with, always. thanks for keeping it real.

  7. You worked hard and did well, and I voted for you for mayor! Rest in power.

  8. James E Vann | August 6, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Reply

    Mike left well-worn boots completely emptied over the many years of “deep trudging” through all types of struggles on behalf of those made homeless by the errors of society. Mike’s boots and the passion he brought to the struggle will be more than impossible to fill. Rest in Peace, my friend. Glorious rest that you earned in Spades !!

  9. Oh man, such a loss to our community! Sam would initiate great community self-sufficiency projects, such as the collectively run flea-market stand where homeless folks could sell wares without single-handed Lu shouldering the steep overhead, and he always brought report-backs and effusive thanks to the group underwriting the stand. He was very professional that way. He had a keen eye for practical, humane solutions to complex problems, and he put the work in to follow through. That counts for a lot in times such as these. He will be greatly missed.

  10. I enjoyed every conversation we ever had, Mike. You will be missed. Your voice will be missed.

  11. Evelisa Valentin | August 9, 2020 at 10:58 pm | Reply

    RIP SAm Spade….really will miss you and your wisdom.

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