On Friday Nov 1, 2019 at 6:45 pm, the newly formed Lancaster County Homeless Union took its first action at Penn Square in Lancaster Pennsylvania. They partnered with the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee of Put People First! PA to host a vigil for Desierie Quintero, a leader in the California Homeless Union who was killed by a falling tree after the city of Santa Cruz evicted homeless residents of the Ross Camp. Desierie, known as “Mama Desi” was part of a federal lawsuit against the city for this brutal displacement of families.
(Link to YouTube video footage: https://youtu.be/j9kNLdzgrU8)
The Lancaster Homeless Union has been building over the past few months, initiated by the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee of Put People First! PA (PPF-PA) in collaboration with the National Union and came to fruition throughout October. Quality healthcare and housing for all are two of the biggest unmet needs in Lancaster County. (Link to YouTube video footage: https://youtu.be/4ZwGNTFE3Bs)
Lancaster is the first county in PA to re-establish a chapter of the Homeless Union after the demise of the original union during the 1980’s. The Lancaster County Homeless Union will work collaboratively with Put People First! PA and other groups as part of the PA Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. (Link to YouTube video footage: https://youtu.be/DExcTqwwC3k)
Leaders from the National Union of the Homeless visited Lancaster on September 21 for the Medicaid March on Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital organized by PPF-PA. Medical debt and healthcare crises are leading causes of homelessness and securing healthcare is one of the biggest challenges for unhoused people. Similarly, PPF-PA members fighting for healthcare justice also struggle with housing insecurity amid rapid gentrification and housing is a social determinant of health. (Link to YouTube video footage: https://youtu.be/dieOT4TMAKE)
Join the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee for a free “Day After Thanksgiving” Dinner!
Because the poor and homeless are hungry 365 days a year, not just Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, Put People First! PA will be joining the National Union of the Homeless in solidarity by hosting a free “Day After Thanksgiving Dinner.” Join us to learn about PPF-PA, The National Union of the Homeless, create a vision for our newly formed Lancaster County Homeless Union, and have group activities towards community building. We are also looking for donations of winter wear items, blankets, socks, underwear and other needed items for all ages to give away at the event. For more information or to donate to this event contact us at 717-298-0562. Please be sure to RSVP so we can be sure to have enough food for everyone. Hope to see you there! (Facebook Event link: https://facebook.com/events/493661421482558/?ti=icl)