Monday, August 29, 2005



On May 16th, 2005, the Blue Lake police, including chief Gundersen, launched a racially motivated attack on a homeless mother and her children. The woman was shot with a taser electro-shock gun, forcibly medicated with the dangerous pharmaceutical Haldol, allegedly abused sexually while unconscious, and taken to jail. She was told by police chief Gundersen that she was not allowed in Blue Lake due to her race.

“Do you know what it feels like to fight for your life and kids lives and in a flash it’s taken from you for no reason, No reason at all?”
- from the diary of Yvonne Phillips, memo log of arrest.
Full account printed in the Humboldt Advocate, August 24-30, 2005, pg. 8.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

FDA warnings about anti-depressants

Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done under clinical supervision.
FDA Public Health Advisory
March 22, 2004

Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked manufacturers of the following antidepressant drugs to include in their labeling a Warning statement that recommends close observation of adult and pediatric patients treated with these agents for worsening depression or the emergence of suicidality. The drugs that are the focus of this new Warning are: Prozac (fluoxetine); Zoloft (sertraline); Paxil (paroxetine); Luvox (fluvoxamine); Celexa (citalopram); Lexapro (escitalopram); Wellbutrin (bupropion); Effexor (venlafaxine); Serzone (nefazodone); and Remeron (mirtazapine).
FDA Public Health Advisory
October 27, 2003


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would like to call your attention to reports of the occurrence of suicidality (both suicidal ideation and suicide attempts) in clinical trials for various antidepressant drugs in pediatric patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). While occurrences of suicidality are not unexpected in patients with MDD, preliminary data suggest an excess of such reports for patients assigned to several of these antidepressant drugs compared to those assigned to placebo. FDA has completed a preliminary review of such reports for 8 antidepressant drugs (citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine*, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine) studied under the pediatric exclusivity provision, and has determined that additional data and analysis, and also a public discussion of available data, are needed.

Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done under clinical supervision.

Monday, August 22, 2005


According to the Homeless Task Force’s HSU consulting team, anybody who has been homeless for “longer periods” (whatever that is) is “chronically homeless,” which, defined by HUD (federal department of Housing and Urban Development), means that they have a “disabling condition.” If that “disabling condition” isn’t physical, then it is presumed to be mental, and so HSU seems to suggest that anybody who has been homeless for more than a short while is mentally ill, unless that person has a physical disability that causes homelessness.
Using this rationale, HSU then interjects the insidious idea of mandatory case management...

from the Humboldt State University’s
Homeless Services Plan draft:

“Research shows us that most people who experience homelessness (80%) are homeless for only a short period and can be housed either through assistance in locating suitable housing or with a rent subsidy. Other people are homeless for longer periods or cycle in and out of homelessness. These chronically homeless people may need permanent supportive housing and more extensive support services to remain housed.”
The draft of the plan starts on page 24 of the Homeless Task Force Agenda for 8.4.05

also see the survey results, page 45 of the draft plan: “By strong majorities, often more than 2 to 1, respondents in both samples reported that case management should be required to receive basic services including overnight shelter and that there should be time limits on receiving these services.”


Ending Chronic Homelessness Strategies for Action
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Report fromthe Secretary’s Work Groupon Ending Chronic Homelessness
March 2003
This report is available on the Internet at:

“HHS, HUD, and VA have agreed on the characteristics of persons experiencing chronic homelessness and use the following definition in their collaborations:

An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or has had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years.”

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Letter from Rosemary to the Arcata Eye

Arcata City Homeless Task Force Blatantly Ignores Needs of Northern Humboldt's Disadvantaged Youth and Families

This letter is past due. Originally, I was excited at the opportunity of sitting on a committee designated to find solutions that I thought would not only find multiple solutions to aide homeless/houseless in the community but also empower them. My job as the Homeless Outreach Coordinator for the High School District requires knowledge, an open heart, and trench boots. Unlike many of the homeless you see at the Endeavor or on the Plaza, the population I work with are invisible. Eighty one families were enrolled in the Northern Humboldt Homeless Outreach Project in the 2004-2005 school calendar year. Thirty nine of these students (48%) are Arcata residents. Many of these students “couch surf”: The practice of sleeping in the homes of acquaintances or other helpful people on a rotating basis, from home to home. Couch surfing, along with other forms of temporary housing arouses feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, uncertainty, and often is accompanied by hunger. Fortunately, most of these kids still make it to school and yet have hope.

Interestingly enough, many people assume welfare assistance is enough to get by on. Unfortunately, the assistance level is far below poverty level. One of the parents I work with receives $600.00 a month in assistance and $240.00 in food stamps for her and her two boys. Try to make rent on that budget!

A January 2003 rental survey conducted by Pacific Municipal Consultants found that the median rental price for a two bedroom apartment was $575.00 and a two bedroom house was $650.00. This is beyond the affordability of the families I work with and leads many families to double up in occupancy. It is not uncommon when interviewing families to hear that they sleep in the kitchen and on the living room floor just to have a roof over their heads, and these are families that are paying rent! Humboldt Bay Housing Company, Arcata’s solution to aide low-income families with rentals, asks that monthly income be at least twice the amount of the rent. On average their rental price for a family of three is set by *Housing Urban Development(HUD) to be between $477.00-$678.00. After assisting ten families over the year to apply for this program, not even one qualified. Even with minimum wage jobs, $6.75hr x 40 hours x 4 weeks(month) –25%(taxes/medical insurance/retirement) =$810.00.

Single parents are not making enough money to even qualify for an apartment rental. Even with HUD and *Section Eight as a solution, chances are slim that you can even get on the waiting list. Just yesterday, I spoke with a mother enrolled in my program who has been on the waiting list for housing in Humboldt County for three years. Even if families are granted governmental-housing assistance, itÂ’s unlikely to find a landlord who accepts it.

Where are these families supposed to go? This is a weekly struggle for me. With no solution, many families live in parked cars or trailers that they have to move every two weeks to a different camp ground because the majority of campgrounds in the area have a two week limit.

“This year will be the first year without emergency shelter. Last year the winter shelter in Eureka housed over 90 families, in a three month period. Because of county policies, we will see more families outside in the colin ofdassistancestance. With our overloaded Mission providing the only emergency services, it will not be able to care for many of Arcata’s population” -John Shelter, Operations Manager at Arcata Endeavor.

Some of my teens will camp in the community forests. I can’t say I myself would be that brave as a teenager. It seems quite a few of my teens have been desperate for shelter. I have spoke to young girls who have had sex just to ensure a place to stay. It brings tears to my eyes to sit on a Task Force who chooses to look the other way rather then recognize the situation at hand. I was told at our last Task force meeting that the reason why the draft of the Homeless Task Force is not pushing a teen shelter is that “it is too expensive to operate” Shelly Mitchell (HSU consulting team member). I realize a teen shelter similar to the limited one through RCAA in Eureka may be costly, needing 24hr staffing, however there are feasible solutions to the money crunch. Community churches could be asked for funding as well volunteer time for staffing. Where there is a will from the community, there is way! Consider the alternative.

Inadequate shelter is a HUGE educational barrier for many of the teens enrolled in my program. When youth do not have shelter it is hard for them to learn. They worry about where they will sleep that night, they are tired from the night before, and feel heightened stress. All of these factors leave little energy for education. Arcata needs long term and emergency shelter to provide services for high school aged youth.

It is extremely frustrating to sit on a non compassionate Homeless Task Force after working on the front lines with families who are experiencing houselessness. My families seek legal places to camp for free or at the least a legassleep in to sleepin their vehicles with out harassment and yet the majority of the Task Force refuses to even research possible locations for camp grounds and safe zones.

It would also be proactive to have satellite workers from both Social Services and Mental Health provided at locations where these populations could conveniently receive services such as the Arcata Endeavor or at the school sites. This would alleviate transportation hardships and missed appointments. Not to mention opening doors for services to families who cannot make the distance to Eureka to receive counseling and all other services for their family. Try being a mother of three trying to make a Social Services appoin00 amt at 9:00AM with three children on a limited bus schedule and then deciding that bus tickets had to override your purchase for a gallon of milk and cereal for breakfast that morning for your kids.

Even after these issues have been brought to the attention of Task Force by way of public forums, letters, public comment, and interviews, it refuses to “move in that direction, as it's not very feasible” –Davis from the (Homeless Task Force Loses Paul Billups as a Member, issue no. 27). The reality of it is that the only “homeless population” that people want to be concerned with, are those on the plaza that are allegedly effecting the business community. The reality is many of the people on the plaza are not “homeless” yet there are many homeless that need help that aren’t on the plaza.

It has also been requested several times for the site selection Committee to look at numerous sites not just for the movement for the Arcata Service Center but for other sites as well such as apartment buildings for a teen shelter, temporary housing for women and children, and community gardens. However, the site subcommzoning locations of zoninglocations has been replaced by a régime to relocate the Arcata Endeavor while all other sites that be solutions to the problem at hand fall to the wayside.

There can be supportive solutions for finical and staffing assistance besides major state *CDBG grants and HUD monies. The Task Force does not have to limit itself to one major funding source, ealternative all other alterative solutions to a minority report. Arcata has a reputation for creative solutions, so why hasnÂ’t this been addressed in the draft of the plan? If the community can agree on a few solutions as a whole, surely we can band together collaborating agencies such as the High Schools, the University, encouraging churches and the All Faith Partnership creating sustainable solutions to many of tasks at hand requiring little federal or state funding.

Humanity has been ignored. I strongly encourage people to come to our Task Force and City Council meetings and speak up. With out your voices this plan could leave out major portions of the houseless population, namely northern Humboldt disadvantaged youth and families. Your voices your letters, your petitions, your participation and support are needed! Great issues are being ignored and need your support such as:

Shelters for teenage youth
Emergency shelters for families
Satellite workers from Mental Health and Social Services located at school sites or at the Arcata Endeavor
Safe Zones community gardens and campgrounds for families
Alternative sustainable solutions with community support and funding, and staffing
Rent control and more low income housing
Public restrooms with 24hr use

As the Arcata City Homeless Task Force, legally and ethically it was our charge to assist the houseless/homeless, improving the services and conditions by way of filling in the barriers they face and find solutions to improve the quality of life. I feel that we have moved away from this goal and have forgotten the task at hand. Huge populations of homeless have been ignored, victimized, and targeted as unworthy of compassion. I can only have faith that my time and energy committed to this task force has not been in vain.

Rosemary Loftis, MA Homeless Outreach Project Coordinator
*HUD:US Department of Housing and Urban developmenthe governmenthousing: thegovernment provides funds directly to apartment owners, who lower the rents they charge low-income tenants.
*Housing Choice Vouchers (formerly called "Section 8") place to find your own placeto rent, using the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent
To be eligible, you need to fall with in a certain income rage.
*CDBG Grants Program Objective: The primary statutory objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent hliving environmentable livingenvironment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low-and moderate-income. The State must ensure that at least 70 percent of its CDBG grant funds are used for activities that benefit lowpersons overate-income personsover a one-, two-, or three-year time period selecgeneral objective This generalobjective is achieved by granting "maximum feasible priority" to activities which benefit low- and moderate-income families or aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight. Under unique circumstances, States may also use their funds to meet urgent community development needs. A need is considered urgent if it posses a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community and has arisen in the past 18 months.
Yours Truly, Rosemary

Friday, August 05, 2005

Arcata's Homeless Task Force FALLS APART!!!

Last night, Thursday August 4, the 2 unhoused members of Arcata's homeless task force resigned, leaving the homeless task force without any homeless members.

Agenda item 7.B. for the evening was "Vote to endorse Homeless Services Plan and provide feedback regarding the emphasizing or de-emphasizing of components in the Draft of the Homeless Services Plan."

Tad asked for the agenda item to be removed from the agenda so that the incomplete services plan could be discussed before being endorsed. As facilitator Tim Doty denied the request, citing time restraints, tad denounced the task force as hurting those that it should intend to help, and resigned. After applause from the members of the public present, facilitator Tim Doty called a recess.

When the meeting reconvened, Kim Starr read her letter of resignation, also refusing to have her name on HSU's (incomplete) Homeless Services Plan. After more applause from the viewing public, facilitator Tim Doty threatened to close the meeting to the public.

The draft of HSU's incomplete Homeless Services Plan is available on the internet at:
The draft of the plan starts on page 24.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Homelss Task Force UPDATE


On Feb. 2, 2005, the Arcata silly council appointed 14 people to the homelessness task farce. Included were 3 “homeless advocates”: Tad, Kim Starr and Paul. Paul has since been removed from the task force for being “disruptive.”

The task force meetings have been dominated by a “run the bums out of town” atmosphere and an attitude of dismissing public participation, including violations of the Brown Act (law that requires public access to meeting and requires the elected officials to let the public speak). As the issues that “homeless advocates” wish to speak about get pushed indefinitely aside, they are then called “disruptive” and their input ignored.

The subcommittee initially charged with looking into human rights abuses by the police against homeless people have instead changed their name from the “human rights” subcommittee to the “community impact” subcommittee and are acting as the voice of certain business owners who blame their financial woes on homeless people.

They continually accuse people that hang out on the plaza during the daytime of causing a whirlwind of problems, but they are contradicted by captain Tom Chapman of the Arcata police who responded during a city council study session (June 29, 2005) that most of the problems on the plaza occur on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights between 9pm and 3am, and are directly associated with alcohol and the bars.

Meanwhile, there has still been no discussion about Arcata’s recently twice-defeated anti-sleeping ordinance, the rampant use of tasers by the police against homeless people, the profiling of homeless people for selective-enforcement by the police, and no discussion of a legal place for someone to sleep who doesn’t have a home or rental.

Early on in the process there was a vote on whether or not to televise the (public) task force meetings, as city council meetings are televised. The “homeless advocates” all supported this as a measure that would help insure accountability for what goes on in the meetings. The other members of the task force voted overwhelmingly against it, and carried the vote. Nonetheless, “homeless advocates” have taken it upon themselves to video-record the meetings and get them televised. They are sometimes shown on Thursday nights (maybe at 6pm?). Contact Rob Amerman for details.

For more news and current updates, check out:
on the internet