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BERKELEY RELIGIOUS COALITION WITH THE HOMELESS PEOPLES PARK
To Members of the Berkeley City Council:
We as members of Berkeley churches and religious organizations believe it
is our responsibility as people of faith to make our voices heard with and
for our homeless sisters and brothers. The City's lease with the University
for People's Park expires in March, 1996. A People's Park Use Committee
composed of representatives from the City and University of California has
generated a plan that we would amend in three important areas. We are grateful
for the good work of individuals and groups involved in the concensual planning
process and also believe the plan falls short of key ingredients which will
make it effective.
First, the plan needs to be amended to include support for continued social
services at the park, particularly for the existing food programs and free
A letter written in September 1995 signed by Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien of
UC and Mayor Shirley Dean of Berkeley revealed drastic changes being proposed
regarding current social services offered in the Park for the homeless and
The letter indicated that both the free clothes box at the Park and food
services there would be reevaluated and probably eliminated or changed.
At least six faith-based groups currently provide meals at the Park, in
addition to Food Not Bombs.
Second, the plan needs to be amended to exclude components changing People's
Park from a community gathering place into a University athletic facility.
Third, we believe the University should donate the land at People's Park
to the City of Berkeley to be run by the community.
With amendments in these three key areas we believe the Use Plan for
People's Park will effectively work to make the Park a hospitable environment
for all people.