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4 Homeless Activists Arrested in Bid for Riverside Housing

October 23, 1987|United Press International

RIVERSIDE — Four homeless people were arrested Thursday for refusing to leave the county Administration Building, where they made a symbolic request for permanent shelter and refused an offer of a night in a hotel.

"What we want is not just one night of shelter, but some place where several hundred people can go on a regular basis," said protest organizer Arlene Hayes, wife of homeless activist Ted Hayes.

"We think the county must live up to its mandate to care for the poor and indigent," she said.

Police Lt. Terry Osborne said three men and one woman were arrested without incident on suspicion of trespassing in refusing to leave the County Administrative Office at 4080 Lemon St. at closing time.

Cited and Released

The four, Ron Bell, 28, Shirely Moore, 46, Mark Studer, 25, and Ronald Hicks, 21, were cited at the police station and released.

Hayes said she led about 10 people in a sit-in in the county building lobby for several hours during a driving rainstorm and asked the county to open its lobbies and bomb shelter in the ground floor for the homeless during inclement weather.

The four members of the group who refused to leave when asked by police after the building closed at 5 p.m. were arrested.

A representative of St. Francis Catholic Church in Riverside offered members of the homeless protest group some vouchers for a night of free lodging in a hotel, but the four who were arrested turned the offer down, Hayes said.

One Accepted Offer

One veteran homeless man who identified himself only as Willie accepted the offer, she said.

Hayes has recently taken up the cause of the homeless in her home community of Riverside. She said her husband is continuing to work for the homeless and was speaking at a community forum Thursday night in Los Angeles County's Pacific Palisades.

Hayes said there are a few small, private shelters for the homeless in Riverside, but she believes the county and city should provide larger shelters.

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