In Aftermath of Collins Murder, New Scrutiny on Homeless

Waiting at the Homeless Services Center on River Street. Photo by Chip Scheuer.

When the Shelter Project’s Paul Brindel heard about the proposed changes for homeless services in the aftermath of the murder of 38-year-old Shannon Collins, one concern echoed through his head. “I hope that as a result of this horrible crime, homeless people will not find it so much harder to find legal, affordable shelter,” says Brindel, the Community Action Board program director who will be retiring this year after 30 years of service.

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An Unprecedented Outpouring

The death of Shannon Collins on May 7 has prompted a public outpouring of shock and sorrow that’s impossible to ignore. On Monday, May 14, a week after she was stabbed to death in broad daylight by a troubled and violent man she didn’t know, some 300 community members organized by Take Back Santa Cruz walked from the scene of the murder to her shop, Camouflage, on Pacific Avenue, completing the walk she wasn’t able to. Neighbors of the block on Broadway where the murder happened held a memorial on Sunday, and before that friends and family gathered there Friday for a vigil. Hundreds of people—some who knew the 38-year-old Collins, many who did not—have signed online memorials and weighed in on Facebook. The Sin Sisters Burlesque donated the proceeds of their Saturday show to the Collins family. The Rio Theatre put her name on its marquee.

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