Tents Don’t Pop Up on the Green, For Now

by Thomas Breen, May 15, 2024, New Haven Independent

Anthony wasn’t sure where he and his fiancee would spend the night Wednesday. But he did know where they wouldn’t be: in a downtown encampment proposed and ultimately postponed by a group of unhoused activists.

“I’m not staying on the Green,” he said. ​“I’m not getting arrested.”

Pushing a stroller filled with blankets and spare clothing, all quickly soaked through in Wednesday afternoon’s rain, Anthony was one of around 50 people to gather on the Green by Church Street across from City Hall at around 4 p.m. The Unhoused Activists Community Team (U‑ACT) had initially planned on pitching tents and spending the night on the Green, in view of the mayor’s second-floor office at City Hall, to protest past clearings of homeless encampments. …

Brian C. asked the mayor point blank what would happen if the encampment proceeded on the Green as planned.​“Somebody told me if we set up a tent tonight, they’re going to arrest us. Is that true?”
“You’re not allowed to set up tents,” the mayor replied.

“That’s crazy,” Brian said. But will people get arrested?

“If you sleep in a tent and don’t let us remove it, you may get arrested,” Elicker said. Sleeping outside won’t get you arrested, but setting up an unauthorized structure might. … Brian said … he was at The 180 Center warming center on East Street on Tuesday, but that center is now closed for the season. ​“I’m trying to get into an encampment,” he said, ideally the one on Rosette Street behind the Amistad Catholic Worker House, but there might not be enough room.

Mark Colville, who co-runs the Amistad Catholic Worker House, gathered attendees into a circle at around 4:30 to try to figure out as a group what to do next….

Ultimately, at Colville’s suggestion, those gathered agreed to continue organizing in the month ahead, including by going to U‑ACT’s weekly meetings on Friday afternoons at the downtown public library. In a month’s time, Colville said, an even larger group will come back to the Green for a subsequent action uplifting the basic human rights of those with nowhere to sleep but outside.

[Entire article is available here: newhavenindependent.org/article/unhoused_activists]

Volunteers Lay Foundations for Six Tiny Homes to Serve Unhoused New Haveners

Maggie Grether & Natasha Khazzam, Yale Daily News, Oct. 10, 2023

Leaders of the Rosette Neighborhood Village Collective are building the tiny homes to provide additional privacy and stability for residents.

Volunteers broke ground last Saturday at the Rosette Neighborhood Village Collective, clearing wheelbarrows of damp earth to lay the foundations for six tiny homes that will be operational by Thanksgiving.

The tiny homes will provide shelter for between eight and 12 unhoused people currently living in tents at 203 Rosette St., located in activists Mark Colville and Luz Catarineau’s backyard….

To clear space for constructions, the Collective moved tents previously erected in Colville and Catarineau’s backyard, which have been there since 2022, to a community garden directly next to the house. Volunteers from various organizations including Amistad Catholic and Benicasa Community gathered Sunday to construct the foundations….

Colville said he has been in communication with the City Planning Department and is currently working with the city to secure permits for the tiny homes. Colville said the city has expressed support for the tiny homes, which he sees as “the first real substantive cooperation that the city has expressed towards this movement.”…

Colville started helping set up makeshift tent cities in 2014. In 2020, during the outbreak of the pandemic, Colville helped form the West River encampment.

[The article can be read in its entirety at yaledailynews.com/blog/2023/10/10/volunteers-lay-foundations-for-six-tiny-homes-to-serve-unhoused-new-haveners]

Trespassing Charges Nolled Against New Haven Homeless Activist Mark Colville

by Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register, April 14, 2023

Most people would be happy to walk out of court with the charges against them nolled, a precursor to dismissal. But Mark Colville, an activist for unhoused people who was charged with trespassing last month when the city cleared and then dismantled the “Tent City” encampment along the  West River next to the Ella T. Grasso Boulevard soccer field, seemed Thursday as if he felt deprived.

He did, after all, say at the time of his March 16 arrest that his goal was essentially to put the city on trial for the way it treats people without permanent homes in New Haven. And ultimately, that’s what he did — although perhaps not in the way he initially planned.

That’s because Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney David J. Strollo, after meeting with Colville and his backup attorney, Patricia Kane, in Strollo’s Superior Court office, told Senior Judge Frank A. Iannotti that while Colville “has every right to challenge” the city’s policies and the charges against him,”the state does not feel it’s the best use of its resources to pursue this case.”…

Colville got to have his say before leaving the courtroom. He told the judge and the prosecutor, “I object to the dismissal of these charges, first of all, because I feel it’s an evasion” of the need to address the city’s behavior.

Colville, who has a home in the Hill section where he allows unhoused people to sleep in tents in his backyard, said his arrest — which came after he pitched a tent at the former encampment the day before the city came to clear it — was not an act of protest but “an act of defense.”

“The laws with which they carried out that action” were “completely disconnected from human rights,” said Colville, who had five former Tent City residents living in the backyard of his Amistad Catholic Worker Home in the Hill in the days immediately after the city moved in. “The city of New Haven continues to carry out a policy of the criminalization of homelessness.”

[Read the article in its entirety at www.nhregister.com/news/article/charges-nolled-new-haven-homeless-activist-mark-17895670.php?src=nhrhpdesecp]

Local Catholic Worker Mark Colville Jailed for Plowshares Action against Nuclear Missiles

by Stephen Kobasa, Kings Bay Plowshares support group

Mark Colville of the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven was one of seven Catholic Plowshares activists who carried out a Plowshares action on April 4, at the Kings Bay Naval Base, St. Mary’s, Georgia, where Trident ballistic missile submarines and their nuclear weapons are based.

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism, and materialism. In their statement, which they carried with them, the group quoted King: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.”

A federal indictment charges the seven with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property and Trespass. In response to news of the indictment, Mark wrote from the Camden County Jail, “Once again the federal criminal justice system has plainly identified itself as another arm of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous course from which it has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 70 years.”

While Mark is in prison, the work of the Amistad Catholic Worker is being continued by Luz Colville. Support for that work can take any of several forms:

1) Donations of items for the community breakfast program: old-fashioned oats, grits, eggs, coffee, creamer, sugar, pancake mix, pancake syrup, cereal, milk powdered or fresh, canned evaporated milk, margarine, pasta, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, rice, beans, napkins, toilet tissue, rolls of paper towels;

2) Gift cards for purchase of above items;

3) Checks made out to the Amistad Catholic Worker and delivered or mailed to 203 Rosette St., New Haven, CT 06519.