An 82-year-old man was evicted from his trailer after several attempts to continue residency in his home where he could no longer afford to rent.
Two police officers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department forced John Busch out of his San Leandro home of 15 years and put him in jail.
“When I came out and I got the door, I told them ‘You got the wrong guy. I’m not the criminal, they’re the criminals,’” said Busch in reference to the owners who raised his rent. “You’re working for the corporation and not the people.”
Busch struggled to keep the door closed until it was ripped off the hinges as the police forced it open. Busch was thrown to the ground by the police in an effort to stop him from resisting.
“It was just so painful. I’ve never felt pain that much and I was screaming at the top of my lungs,” Busch said. “I was screaming louder than I’ve ever screamed in my life.”
Busch was evicted on Nov. 23 when air quality was hazardous due to the Paradise wildfire.
“They were going to throw him out knowing that he didn’t have a place to go, without his phone–they wouldn’t let him get his phone–, into the air so polluted, without a mask or anything, deliberately,” said Silvia Brandon-Perez, activist and Busch’s close friend.
“It was just so painful. I’ve never felt pain that much and I was screaming at the top of my lungs,”
Homelessness has increased from 4,040 to 5,629 since 2015 people and has become an increasingly egregious issue in the Bay Area, according to Alameda County’s biennial data study held by the “Everyone Counts” campaign.
Forty-two percent of homeless people said rent assistance would have helped them stay off the streets, according to the same study.
A very similar case occurred in the city of San Francisco in 2017 with a 100-year-old woman named Iris Canada, a who fought to keep her house of over 50 years.
She lost the fight and was evicted from her home. She became ill and died about a month after the eviction.
Busch brought up this case as evidence for his claim of being a victim of gentrification.
“My definition of gentrification is, bringing people in with more money so they can spend more money downtown. It’s too easy to convince the city council that that’s the best thing for the city; gentrification,” Busch said. “It seems to bypass the idea that it’s forcing residents, long-term residents, to have to move.”
Busch’s home was located around the Estudillo area of San Leandro which is prone to gentrification and is considered “at risk of exclusion,” according to the University of California Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project.
“The people who are new moving in, are put in the same position I am. After they pay their rent, they only have about $300 to last them the rest of the month,” Busch says. “It’s getting worse by the minute. A lot of people are getting very concerned. The city council kind of has their head in the sand.”
Busch has decided to file a lawsuit against the county since his arrest, but has yet to follow up on it.
“If that doesn’t work then getting pulled out of my trailer and getting hurt, being 82 and being a general nuisance to the police and to the city is the only way you’re going to get exposure,” said Busch.
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