Banner Hanging confronted by police – Press Release

Immediate Release:

Camp Take Notice Banner Exhibition confronted by Police; Supporters don’t give up


Yesterday, supporters of the dismantled tent community Camp Take Notice gathered outside the newly erected $20,000 fence that was built by the Michigan Department of Transportation to keep them out.  Around 3:30PM they hung aproximately 18 white bedsheets that had been spraypainted with sentences like: “Friendships Were Discovered Here” , “A Safe Night Sleep Was Available Here”, “A Listening Ear Was Found Here” as well as phrases like “Not Housed” and “Now Homeless”.
During the hour that they were hanging the bedsheets, cars honked frequently, the majority of them appearing to signal support by smiling widely and putting their arms out the window with a raised fist. Three police vehicles showed up to investigate the proceedings but no arrests were made, nor were any tickets issued.  It was the intent of the organizers of this event to leave the signs up for two days and then remove them this Saturday.
However, some time early this morning an outspoken detractor of the organized democratic tent community for the homeless had torn down all eighteen signs from the eight foot tall chain-link fence and left them in crumpled piles along Wagner Road.
In order to complete the direct action that the Camp Take Notice Supporters have set out to do, new signs have been made and activists wil again be posting them on Wagner Road today at 3:30.  It is expected that they will likely be removed later by the same NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard!) opponent at some point later tonight or perhaps early tomorrow morning.  However, if the activists are lucky the signs will be visible during rush hour traffic as the public drives home for the weekend.
Of the previous 68 residents that lived at Camp Take Notice (CTN) only 12 are now housed.  Additionally, the Ann Arbor Delonis Shelter is usually full and, while the camp exisited had previously refered the overflow homeless to CTN.  Now however, there is no place for the overflow homeless of Washtenaw County to find community or shelter. At the same time government officials were closing down CTN, they were also giving permission for the eviction other homeless encampments; this includes the homeless that lived in Bluff’s Park off of North Main Street and those that live under the bridges near the intersection between Fuller Road and Medical Center Drive.  In addition to a Washtenaw County, a pattern of the criminalization of the involuntary status of homelessness (legal term is “criminalization of status”) is emerging all over of the United States.

6 responses to “Banner Hanging confronted by police – Press Release

  1. Do you people honestly believe that putting up banners will garner enough public support to convince the powers that be to reverse their decision and reopen the camp? The energies you expend are a waste of time, and afford irrefutable proof of your arrogant, self serving attitudes . There are far more productive ways to help the homeless. Get a life!

    • Hi Peter!
      We are hanging banners to garner public awareness of the larger issues of homelessness. We, of course, hope that we can set up camp in the future, not necessarily by way of a reversed decision but possibly through some new avenue not yet taken. At the very least, the banners have sparked controversy: check out the front page of Sunday’s as well as the 200+ comments online (all posted within less than 48 hours of its publishing). I am personally of the opinion that healthy debate can only help in the struggle to end homelessness.
      Regards, Laila

  2. Wow! How wrong could you possibly be?

    First off the maximum number of campers during the time period of the eviction was approximately 50.

    The number of people receiving housing subsidies was about 40. Of these 15 have been housed.

    Get your facts straight!

    • Hi Peter,
      CTN and MISSION have been keeping a close count of those housed and not housed. And those living at the camp at the time can certainly attest to the fact that before the eviction notice at the end of May, there were approximately 70 campers staying regularly. Please let us know where you are getting your stats, we would be happy to find out about discrepancies.
      Best, Laila

      • The number of campers at the time of the eviction was approximately 50. This number is from a print screen (supplied by Brian Durrance) of the Rule Sheets signed by campers. From this print screen, persons no longer residing at the camp or whose residence was intermittent to the degree that they were considered “tourists” rather than “campers” were disqualified from the list. The net number, as I recall was 54.

        Just for the record, how did you determine that the number of campers was approximately 70?

  3. HI Peter, Sorry I didn’t respond sooner to your questions. I was away and not checking on line. You make a good point about the numbers… in that it is hard to know with 100% accuracy. This is why I’ve been saying “about or approximately.” As I understand it this number “about 70” was the number of people staying at camp who were willing to have their names put on a list to be provided to make themselves eligible for the housing vouches. This list was cross-referenced with the list from the rule sheet you noted above, and put the number around 65. Of course, there were some folks at the camp who for whatever reasons (privacy, safety ….) chose not to have their name on such a list. So, we come up with “apporox 70”. In terms of the nubmer housed, yes, you are right that it is now larger than it was at the time this was initial written. It was probably larger than the number noted here by the next day. Of course, this number changes consistently — not only as more people get in to housing, but as we learn that some who we thought had housing actually didn’t. As you can imagine with the community physically scattered it is hard to keep up withe the constant changes.

    I appreciate your interest in keeping numbers accurate. At the same time, for me, it is less a question of exact numbers and more a concern for the larger issues. No matter if it is 50 or 70 people, the fact remains that folks are in need of support and resources that places like Camp Take Notice and MISSION can help to provide. Even if every person at CTN was able to get in housing there would be another 20 or 30 or more next week. Tent communities like CTN are a useful model and have worked well and are gaining support across the country as folks understand their role and come to know the people in the communities

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