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Jul 6, 21

Police Violently Evict Newly Formed Homeless Union Encampment Hours Before Demonstration for Better Conditions

On July 4th, a newly formed homeless union set up an encampment outside of Atlanta City Hall and made plans to rally on Monday, July 5th to demand the city address improving basic conditions. Early the next morning however, police were on the scene to threaten people with criminal trespass and began to violently evict the encampment. According to Sol Underground on Twitter:

APD [arrived in the morning ] to remove people and charge them with criminal trespass. One Sergeant told a union organizer that “it would be a shame if the pregnant woman got tackled.”

At roughly 1pm, APD and Fulton County sheriffs descended upon the encampment outside of city hall and violently arrested [campers] for demanding healthcare, housing, clean water, and a voice within their community. The encampment was cleared and supplies destroyed. We will not allow violence committed by the hands of the state to defer us from our goal of aiding our unhoused community with food and other items. We are in need of volunteers to assist us in the coming days.

In a press release, the Atlanta Homeless Union wrote:

On July 4, 2021, unhoused leaders from across Atlanta came together and formed a union.

Nobody else that’s not walking in our shoes gonna tell us what to do. Teach us how to fish, and we’ll eat forever. The homeless have unionized, and we’re here for what we deserve.

At our first meeting, we discussed our demands. We are not satisfied with the limited shelters that treat us less-than human, a warming station in the winter, and some blankets. We are also not satisfied with the lack of healthcare treatment we receive at Grady. No more bandaid solutions. We need homes. We need water. We are targeting the City until we get what we are owed.

We need the City to divert resources away from band-aid “solutions.” We need real solutions, put forward by the people who are closest to the problem. Here are the demands of our union:

We demand homes. With the millions of dollars we spend on shelters and services, we can house every unhoused person in the City. The City should convert vacant and City-owned properties into permanent homes for those who are unhoused. We demand that the City invest pandemic relief funds in long-term housing solutions.

We demand healthcare. We need primary care access so that we don’t have to go to the emergency room every single time we need basic healthcare. Preventive care saves lives and taxpayer money. All unhoused people should have access to regular preventive medical care.

We demand water. The City controls the Water Department. Especially during this pandemic, we need water to stay sanitary. The City should guarantee showers, bathrooms, and handwashing stations for unhoused people.

We demand a seat. The City is busy talking to everyone except us about what we need. We deserve a seat at the table. We need to be consulted about the policies that will impact our lives. The City should follow our leadership.

If the City is serious about addressing homelessness, this is what it’ll take. If the City is not serious about ending homelessness, the powers that be will continue doing what they’re doing: money to hotels, warming centers, handouts. Someone benefits from those incremental proposals. And it’s not us.

We tired. We’re not gonna go for it anymore. We are here and we are here to stay. We got a voice, and we finna use it.

ATL HOMELESS UNION

More protests are called for outside of Atlanta City Hall. For more information, follow Sol Underground.

cover photo: @SolUnderground

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