Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

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Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments
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By Catrina Sada of Food Not Bombs-Isla Vista

Dear Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD), 

On December 9, 2020, you posted a notice at the largest houseless encampment in Isla Vista which asserted that, “A cleaning of this area will commence on Monday, December 21… please remove all personal property from this area by Sunday, December 20.” You plan to remove people’s personal belongings and force them to vacate the park. With only 11 days’ notice, you are callously separating our houseless neighbors from their homes, just in time for the holidays, the onset of winter, and the peak of a pandemic. 

The eviction of some of Isla Vista’s most vulnerable and underserved residents does not benefit our community at large. Your insistence upon “maintenance” and “cleaning”--namely, mowing the lawn, auditing irrigation, collecting trash, and setting gopher traps--pales in comparison to the importance of respecting houseless people’s autonomy. You are clearly not taking public opinion into account: hundreds have signed a petition against the evictions, and fourteen community members vehemently opposed the move at your December 10 board meeting, during which the park closure wasn’t even part of the agenda. Your Board Chair refuses to hold a special meeting to discuss this issue further, and you did not bring your plans up in any public meeting or with the County Encampment Task Force, of which you are a member. You justified the closure using the COVID-19 Encampment Management Policy (CEMP), despite the passage of that document also facing public backlash back in August. 

According to your mission statement, your district is supposed to “encourage public participation in its functions.” Yet, instead of facilitating meaningful cooperation between your institution and the community of Isla Vista, your staff have refused to be transparent and have instead taken clandestine action, knowing your anti-houseless agenda would find little support from community members. 

In the board meeting, IVRPD General Manager Kimberley Kiefer stated that she “absolutely love[s] a lot of those community members” and views the removal as “an opportunity to connect people with what they need.” She reiterated important principles of leadership in parks, that “it’s important to include everybody, including people that are unspoken.” Yet despite her reassurances and professed respect for the houseless, your organization's actions are in clear opposition to the desires of Anisq’Oyo Park’s residents. A survey conducted by FNBIV on December 15  revealed that twenty out of twenty five surveyed residents wished to remain in the park. Even though ten people had moved into the tiny pallet homes set up in IV as of December 16, a substantial number of Anisq’Oyo Park residents are still unable to secure spots in the tiny homes, have no interest in moving out of the park, or both. If you truly believed in the principles of inclusive leadership, you would have taken the needs and desires of each houseless resident into consideration. Instead, you have prioritized your own objectives of maintenance and cleaning at the expense of the autonomy and health of the houseless. What’s more, you have threatened our houseless neighbors with arrest if they refuse to leave their homes. IVRPD, with support from the County and Third District Supervisor Hartmann, are completely out of touch with the community they serve, at the same time as they are willing to impose their will upon this community in crucial situations like the one at hand.

These evictions are particularly cruel in light of the current pandemic. California is under a stay-at-home order, and expecting people to relocate during a pandemic is a danger to their health and to public health as a whole. IV’s houseless residents should have the freedom to remain where they are in order to remain safe and autonomous, meeting their needs as they best see fit without endangering themselves or others. The CDC has specifically recommended that houseless people’s encampments not be removed so that their occupants may have the chance to shelter in place. The CDC’s Interim Guidance on Unsheltered Homelessness and COVID-19 emphasizes that that all relevant agencies, such as those with jurisdiction over parks, should “...allow people who are living unsheltered or in encampments to remain where they are. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.” Despite this guidance, you are clearly prioritizing the appearance of local parks over the health of the houseless community.

You have betrayed public trust by forcefully removing people who are sheltering in place in Anisq’Oyo Park. As Isla Vista residents, UCSB students, and neighbors to our houseless community, we implore you to call off this eviction and listen to the voices of the Isla Vista community. 

To take further action in opposing this decision by IVRPD, you can sign this petition, email or call IVRPD’s General Manager and Chairperson, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for further updates.


Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at [email protected] The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.

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a-1608580347 Dec 21, 2020 11:52 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

You do not speak for everyone. You might be shocked how many locals feel immense compassion for the homeless. Being angry that the homeless exist does, and trying to hide the problem, is what has gotten us to these extreme levels of homelessness.

ZeroHawk Dec 22, 2020 08:39 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

so do I, in the heart of it and do not see bums shitting, i see a lot of over entitled dog owners letting their pets use the sidewalks and planters as a toilet and not cleaning them up. i see them doing drugs and drinking and THAT bothers me greatly since i have kids in the house and in the 'hood too. but they have rights too...a lot of them are not career homeless, they are covid homeless, but the dudes shooting up at SBCC aren't covid homeless for sure and I've called the cops on them weekly, with good response too!

a-1608580229 Dec 21, 2020 11:50 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Yep, postpone this 1 week and I have zero issue with it. They are not evicting anyone permanently, they are free to return when the cleaning is completed, not a big deal and it's good for everyone in the long run. This is akin to a landlord doing regularly scheduled maintenance with warning, people with roofs over their head also need to submit to their property owners once in awhile. It's irritating but that is the nature of renting, whether you are on public or private property.

dukemunson Dec 21, 2020 12:57 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Sac -

Your heart is in the right place but this homeless camp is a trainwreck...and the problem with using a "4 days before Christmas" argument is that this should have been done back in February. Come swing by the park sometime...it went from a nice spot for the whole community to enjoy to a giant disaster of trash and grime. There is a reason Bike theft in IV is up exponentially. Same with car break ins.

Rypert Johnson Dec 22, 2020 12:34 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

MILLIMESA, it never ceaases to amaze me how these do gooders are all about caring for the "houseless neighbors" and all, but when it comes time to strepping up to the plate and contributing to their welfare by housing them in their home... CRICKETS!

RobinSB Dec 21, 2020 11:49 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Letting homeless people live in public spaces is a crime especially considering how much our government spends trying to help (PS our government is incapable and incompetent).

Doing nothing for the homeless (like the Catrina advocates) is not helping anyone. Get them out of public spaces and get them mental health if they need it, and they will move along or find work to get housing. They don't have to live here, they can live someplace they can afford once they get on their feet again.

Why is it our responsibility or even part of the conversation that its our obligation to house people? It's not. I'm sick of poop and pee everywhere I go in SB now and dealing with dangerous people who are clearly dealing with mental issues, or on drugs living in our once nice public spaces, and starting fires. One of these fires will turn into a disaster.

Rypert Johnson Dec 22, 2020 12:32 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

ROBINSB, absolutely correct. These "houseless neighbors" aren't the type of "homeless" that want to be fixed, they just want another fix.
They're irrepairable, let's face that fact. What the county should do is build a facility ssomewhere on county property, move them aall there and provide them with all the drugs they need.
Eventually, over time, the problem will take care of itself through attrition. of course, we can send them to Oregon too!

LCP112233 Dec 21, 2020 11:49 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Make the New Year a new start. Let them have Christmas, but these people are nothing but squatters and what they are doing is illegal. They are a menace to society, and a danger to themselves, the public, and the environment. They need to go.

Rypert Johnson Dec 22, 2020 12:30 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

LCP112233, absolutely correct. these "houseless neighbors" that Meth, Not Homes is vouching for, 80% of them, they're volatile, violent, predatory and criminal.
Did you know that there's even prostitution going on in that encampment? Yes, that's right, they're calling it "human trafficking" and all, but it's prostitution and I've seen the madame.
It's a sordid lot in there, a lot of what a small college town doesn't need, but Meth, Not Homes, they're on it!

sbdude Dec 21, 2020 12:34 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Local governments spend many millions of dollars in programs for the homeless - helping them get back on their feet, providing them medical care, all kinds of services. Most homeless are invisible and are well served by these services and more often than not, regain self-sufficiency. The ones who camp along the freeway or are panhandlers or camp in parks in IV are not usually among those who are easy to serve and in fact often resist any services that are anything but a direct handout. Many if not most are substance abusers, have mental health issues, and all too often don't really want to regain self-sufficiency. Please don't conflate the lifestyle homeless with the temporarily down-and-out homeless, or imply that nothing is being done for them.

LakerGirl Dec 21, 2020 05:25 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

The 2 down votes have never been a victim of crime by mentally homeless men. They should talk to the woman who worked at the LA Cumbre Massage Envy. Leftists love embracing criminals until it’s one of them that is victimized.

a-1608602892 Dec 21, 2020 06:08 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Lakergirl, as one of the down votes, let me explain. What is objectionable about your comment is that you are spreading bigotry and disinformation. The crime committed by the homeless is petty stuff. They are not pedophiles or rapists or murders by and large. You want to look at people living in miserable conditions and label them as unworthy of care or community help. This may salve your conscience but it won't make the problem go away. And, by the way, the cost of locking them up in facilities such as you suggest is grossly more than the cost of providing shelter. And, by the way I did have a house that burned (not completely) and I have been assaulted physically. Neither event was by a homeless person. What group should I blame?

a-1608653718 Dec 22, 2020 08:15 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

That was a very scary attack; suspect was booked on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape, assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury, second-degree burglary, dissuading a victim with force or fear, criminal threats that terrorize, false imprisonment, and kidnapping for ransom. Is this going to trial?

mattgreg01 Dec 22, 2020 12:00 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

From the horse's mouth:

“80% of this park are tweakers. [Security is] not gonna let you go out all night long and steal shit. They’re not gonna let you build shit up outside your tiny home, bicycles and shit you stole, and shit you found. It ain’t gonna happen,” Buck said.

Yes, they are criminals.

dukemunson Dec 21, 2020 01:42 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

No need to worry anyone...the party goes on!!! They just moved everyone over to the other side of the park! At least it gave the parks department (and Marborg!) something to do...and it looks like Home Depot is probably getting 5 or 6 of their carts back...

Rypert Johnson Dec 22, 2020 12:26 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

DUKEMUNSON, LOL! I saw those carts in the park and thought to myself "Does Home Depot know what they're getting into?"
Funniest part about the oranage carts is I don't think they were used once by the "houseless neighbors" during the exodus.
But man, lots of shopping carts out there! Saw 1 dude with about 10 or 15 bike frames moving and it looked hilarious!

SoCalMommy Dec 21, 2020 03:12 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

I commend your compassion, however, let me know how you feel about it when one of their fires run your out of your home. Or one of them is taking a dump in your driveway. Or leaving used needles in your yard.

Rypert Johnson Dec 22, 2020 12:23 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

SOCALMOMMY, see, that doesn't matter to the enablers because they're from somewhere else and what happens to you as a function of these "houseless neighbors" is clearly your fault for having a job, paying taxes and rent and living responsibly. None of that matters, we just need to keep coddling the "houseless neighbors" incessantly, they say it's "our duty" which we shouldn't shirk on, even with all the detriments the "houseless neighbors" introduce.

pstarSR Dec 21, 2020 04:17 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Are we breazing over the subject that a bunch of pallet houses were put in IV just a few weeks ago to house these homeless? I think the timing is a bit off. but they have been talking about this for quite awhile. "housing is a right" is a weird term to be used for homeless people that the majority actively do things to CONTINUE this way of life. This isnt working class people struggling to survive, these are drug addicts and derelicts. and im not being mean at all. there are some that are truely down on their luck. but there are a vast majority that thrive on this life..... they dont want to change.

RHS Dec 21, 2020 04:43 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

These sort of actions and comments are akin to the ostrich story. Merely moving the problem out of sight does not make anything better. It is not like the people living on the streets or in the parks or along the freeway have the ability to rent an apartment. Provide housing and if there is enough shelter and someone doesn't accept that alternative then you can take action. Doing less is akin to Marie Antoinette's philosophy.

Basicinfo805 Dec 21, 2020 05:21 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

You think they give a f--- about Christmas? Hilarious. Here's your Christmas present, a big boot. Hey Catrina of Foods not Bombs, I appreciate your energy and compassion, but no way...

sacjon Dec 21, 2020 06:01 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

BASIC - how do you know what these people care about or think about? You're despicable. Sitting in your house behind a computer proclaiming the beliefs of all homeless people. On what basis? Have you ever asked one if they care about it or maybe even celebrate it in some way? Absolutely heartless.

Rypert Johnson Dec 22, 2020 12:15 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

SACJON LOL! The ONLY care about Christmas these "houseless neighbors" have is that people needing to feel good about themselves will come to their aid, other than that... yeah... "F Christmas"is their attitude.

Basicinfo805 Dec 21, 2020 06:51 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

It's my opinion that our public parks should not be campgrounds for homeless people, and I do not think that we should wait until after Christmas to make them move out. If you want to go interview the people currently living in the park there to ask them if they'd prefer to stay until after Christmas, well, be my guest. No one is talking about ALL homeless people. That's a different issue Sac. If you think I'm heartless, so be it. No, I'm not sympathetic to those who will not help themselves and work with the abundance of publically funded help I am paying for. I'm fine paying taxes towards helping the homeless, but not fine with letting them do whatever they want, which is what this article is all about.

NostraChumash Dec 21, 2020 08:43 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

SBDUDE has it correct.
I had been homeless for the last 5yrs, due to illnes, but just moved into my own place last week.
I've witnessed the entire list of complaints, 1st hand, & many are spot on.
For me?..no parties, no new clothes, lots of cold food & showers..I could have stayed in a hotel once in a while, but did'nt want to "splurge" un-necessarily..it was horrible.
There ARE plenty of "homeless", really trying their best to transition up..but so many more who don't want a better life..just a bigger High.

Rypert Johnson Dec 22, 2020 12:12 PM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Nostrachumash, congratulations on choosing to get our life back to being your life and for telling the truth that the enablers need to hear. Have a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Year and never be afraid to reach out and talk if you need to. Accountable, truthful, accurate, you are definitely what we need more of.

PitMix Dec 22, 2020 06:54 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

Um, figure out why citizens of the richest and most powerful nation that has ever existed would rather live rough and do drugs, and then apply those solutions? Is this really beyond our capabilities so that our only solution is to move them to Ventura?

PitMix Dec 22, 2020 10:36 AM
Do Not Remove Anisq’Oyo Park’s Houseless Encampments

The government is spending a lot of money on addressing the impacts of drug-addicted and mentally ill people on our society. You don't think they have an interest in solving this problem? And if not them, who? The addicts and their families have obviously failed already.

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