Community members and homeless rights activists who are hoping to form a new, broad-based coalition with the intention of ending the criminalization of homelessness and sleep in Santa Cruz, held a candlelight “tent” vigil, rally, and march downtown on September 9. Over the last nine weeks, a series of raids targeting the homeless and known public sleep sites has been conducted as part of a coordinated effort by the Santa Cruz Police Department and the city’s departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works. “I’ve been in this town for 31 or 32 years. I have never seen a sweep like the one we’ve had in the last six or seven weeks,” said Santa Cruz resident and homeless rights activist Becky Johnson.
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