An email campaign began last night that has been bombarding city officials and local media with emails featuring the same list of demands regarding Richmond's homeless.
While we're still trying to ascertain how the campaign started and who is officially behind it, the text is below so you can read it for yourself.
We wrote about Camp Cathy after it was razed back in March and that article will get you up to speed and also contains hotlines for help.
To the City Officials of Richmond and their Complicit Accomplices,
We are watching you continue to fail the People. As more city residents lose their jobs and homes this year, those who were elected or appointed to work in the People’s best interest and welfare continue to ignore the needs of Richmond’s houseless and unsheltered residents.
Camp Cathy was razed by the city officials back in March of 2020. No serious, reasonable or logical safety measures for the camp’s unsheltered residents were created to compensate for the loss of the camp community. Mayor Stoney refuses to give the People an answer on a new location for a cold weather shelter even after he raised the budget, stating in 2018 “we need to do better” for Richmond’s houseless and unsheltered communities. The City of Richmond revealed in October it was operating with a $19 million surplus, and still has yet to make reasonable progress to protect its most vulnerable People, knowing all along the cold of winter and deadliness of the pandemic were steadily encroaching.
Our Demands are as follows:
1. We demand transparency of local, state, and federal funds spent and budgeted for housing, human services, and social services intended to protect the City of Richmond’s houseless and unsheltered population.
2. We demand transparency of budgeting and spending of the 2019 and 2020 hotel tax used towards the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
3. We demand an investigation into the misuse of public funds that were allocated for resources and cots for the unsheltered which were not received in 2018 when the Greater Richmond Convention Center served as a shelter.
4. We demand that the city use the Greater Richmond Convention Center as safe shelter for the city’s houseless according to CDC guidelines (which other cities have been able to comply with) to prevent unnecessary illness and death due to exposure. 5. We demand that the city offer social services and resources at the shelter including information and access to free COVID testing, food, housing, and cold weather supplies (jackets, gloves, etc.) OR create and implement an improved safety net phone line with information about these resources and a motel program that works 24/7 with free access to motels (including transportation) and provide the unsheltered city residents utilizing this program with social and health services and resources AT the locations.
6. We demand that resource and hotline information for obtaining emergency shelter (either via the Convention Center or motels) is made CLEAR and ACCESSIBLE to the unsheltered residents and those who work with them on the streets including but not limited to churches, volunteers and non-profits.
7. We demand independent investigations into the deaths of the former Camp Cathy residents after it was razed by the city in March 2020, as well as the death of Irving "Peanut" Ward who froze to death in 2016 in Richmond, VA after he was possibly turned away by guards at a shelter.
8. We demand that all shelter or safety net programs for the houseless and unsheltered city residents are staffed by helping professionals (medical, mental health and social workers), not security guards. Help, not harm.
City Officials- your voting records, inaction, and attacks on Richmond’s unsheltered and houseless residents are being noted.
Council members- you handle millions of dollars of federal and local funds and salaries that are being paid to “professionals” such as Homeward VA that should come up with a real solution, and you have nothing.
Members of the houseless and unsheltered community have died- deaths that could have been prevented.
Many more of us will die as this continues.
How many more will it take? The misallocation of taxpayer money conducted by this council is criminally negligible.
Take heed of our words.
Take action now.
We are watching you.