San Lorenzo Riverbanks Cleanup RSVP
Event Address: San Lorenzo Park and nearby, Santa Cruz, CA
Contact us at
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I will attend the following cleanup sessions: *
What are the names of people attending? *
Community Cleanup Guidelines
Thanks so much for offering to help with a community cleanup!

Our cleanup work is non-judgemental!

We are entering into the living areas of people, and even though we’re there to help, it’s also intrusive. It can be overwhelming and even trigger trauma for people living where a lot of activity will be going on. Many people living outside have experienced multiple dislocations and loss of possessions. Our goal is to help people manage their trash, not to impose a certain standard of cleanliness. Relationships are more important than trash; if in doubt, leave it.

First and foremost, talk to people living in the area to make sure they’re ok receiving help (ideally this will have happened ahead of time), verify what’s in use, what’s abandoned or trash, and areas that are or are not ok to go into. If there are a lot of people helping, or if things are close together, mark off areas to leave alone and communicate that to others. You can also let people know that there are supplies, snacks, and water available at the main info point or from a team leader.

We should employ extra sensitivity around the homes of women and anyone else who seems vulnerable, and we should ask if it’s ok for men to work nearby.

If there are a lot of people involved, break into smaller groups.

Start by cleaning up in areas away from tents, closer to paths and the riverbanks, or in verified abandoned areas. Sometimes what looks like garbage or an abandoned site to us may be important or useful to someone. It’s important to ask whenever possible if something is ok to throw away. It’s also a good idea to work with buddies or in small groups, so that we can support each other as needed.

Photographs: If you do want to take before/after photos, get permission from nearby residents and don’t include peoples’ homes unless you have explicit consent. Don’t post photos publicly that could be used to shame our unhoused neighbors or feed anti-homeless rhetoric.

Special considerations:

Sharps: Accidental needle pokes are exceedingly rare in our experience. Wear gloves and don’t grab into piles, use your shoe or an implement to poke around first and use a tool to pick up piled trash. Needles should be collected in sharps containers, but orange caps can go in regular garbage.

Batteries are the leading cause of fires in landfills and garbage trucks, as well as being toxic. Whenever possible, collect batteries in a separate container and we will dispose of them properly.

Latrines or human/pet waste: if you feel comfortable, pick up waste with a bag over your hand or a shovel and put it in the regular trash. Usually we leave dug latrines alone--if you find one that needs remediation, please let us know.
I have read and agree to the Community Cleanup Guidelines *
How would you like to participate? *
How did you hear about this event? *
Please keep in touch with me about future cleanups and organizing opportunities *
Comments and/or questions
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