More than a Bill: a Campaign for Justice
Homeless Bill of Rights Update from Western Regional Advocacy Project
WRAP Report
Of course we were disappointed when we realized that having The Homeless Persons’ Bill of Rights and Fairness Act introduced by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (AB5) was being put on suspense by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It meant that the bill was dead and would have to be re–introduced again next year and that we needed to start all over again legislatively. The success in the Judiciary Committee was now just a fond memory in the past.
A breakout session - Sisters of the Road and Right 2 Survive from Oregon

Sure everyone was disappointed, but only for a minute, only for the time it took to brush it off and like every other group of social justice warriors that has ever achieved anything, pick up the pieces and go on. It was time to get everyone together, review what lessons were learned, figure out
what groups and communities can be brought on board so we continue to grow stronger. We needed to hang with each other and have a party!

So on July 19 – 20th the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) and allies, gathered together for a strategy meeting in San Francisco to plan the next phase: how to re-initiate and move forward with Homeless Bill of Rights campaigns in both California and Oregon. Below you can follow in detail the results of these two days.

Members from Sisters of the Road and Right 2 Survive from Oregon, from Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, and from LA Community Action Network arrived the day before the meeting to get a good night’s rest before the long and potentially grueling first full-day’s work. Friday morning, local WRAP members and active supporters from the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, St. Mary’s Center, BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency), and Hayward Community Action Network joined. Three co-sponsors of AB5, the Western Center on Law and Poverty and Jericho, a Voice for Justice, and East Bay Community Law Center also attended.

Friday’s morning’s sessions reviewed lessons learned so far, positive and negative outcomes, and the results of prior organizing work. We reaffirmed the many benefits of using the bill of rights as an organizing tool to support and empower our communities and compiled a list of organizations that might support a Homeless Bill of Rights, but haven’t been involved yet, that we will reach out to.

We also looked to the future. We prioritized the core components of a homeless bill that can be used for education and outreach in other communities across the country. We formed a separate committee to study the issue of Hygiene Centers and agreed to continue our number one message: “Until housing as a human right is achieved, we need to protect civil rights and basic survival”.

LA Can in a breakout session
Friday’s long and successful day, WRAP met with the San Francisco Print Collective and artists who are creating a Homeless Bill of Rights mural project. As in past campaigns, WRAP will be using artwork from the community to inspire and spread our message.

A half day meeting on Saturday focused on setting campaign goals and organizational and regional commitments for the next six months: organizations and individuals to be encouraged to become more involved in the campaign. Three breakout groups in Southern California, Northern California and Oregon focused on their regional work and goals.
We all recognized the hard work ahead to redraft and pass a Homeless Bill of Rights in California and Oregon and, most importantly, to make the public aware of how unfairly poor and homeless people are treated. On why we need such Bills.

This strategy meeting last month inspired and energized all WRAP members and allies in the struggle for justice. We worked hard, felt renewed in our mutual dedication, and left in high spirits.