Robert Jones, 56, who serves as a cook at the encampment, said Occupy Madison ensured he had a place to go.Odd that the "We are the 99%"-type political protest of the national "Occupy" movement transmogrified here into a makeshift homelessness effort. But as a way to house the homeless, it was bizarre. As the representative of the district around the encampment, Alderman Bridget Maniaci said "Really? This is the best we can do? Tents, a 15-amp electrical service and a parking lot? That’s going to solve it?"
Jones recalled a time when he was trying to sleep in Brittingham Park and a police officer approached him, warning it was illegal to sleep in the park. Jones told the officer he knew he was breaking the law but he used all his time at the emergency shelters. The officer, Jones said, told him to go sleep behind a tree where he would be out of sight. "I’m not a shark. I need a place to sleep. ... I’m a human being," Jones said.
Donna Asif, executive director for the Madison Homelessness Initiative, urged the city to support grass-roots movements. "This way of living, it turned into something that felt like a home. I think something like it is part of the array of solutions...."
April 11, 2012
And also to deny a permit to extend the encampment any longer. The counsel first listened to about 15 witnesses "telling personal stories":