Beginning on Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day, February 14, L.A. Catholic Worker community member Kaleb Havens began a 46-day water only hunger strike by chaining himself to a fence on 5th St. near Gladys Ave. in Skid Row to protest the way the City and County of Los Angeles have neglected the homeless and housing crises affecting this city and county.
With more than 58,000 people living on the streets, in shelters, or in vehicles in Los Angeles County, including approximately 5,000 in the 50 square block area of Skid Row, the city and county have done next to nothing the alleviate the crises. Indeed, they have only made the crises worse. Most importantly, city and county officials fail to see (and treat) these individuals as human beings created in God’s image and likeness, as sisters and brothers in the family of God. Many of these officials claim to be people of faith, Christians in particular, yet fail to realize, because of their spiritual blindness, that their treatment of the poorest of the poor is the way they treat Jesus Christ, as illustrated in Matthew 25:31-46–What you do or fail to do the least ones, you do to Him.
Kaleb chose this location to spend the next 46 days because it is next to the empty former Salvation Army Shelter, which could easily be converted into housing for hundreds of individuals. This location is one block from our soup kitchen. The 46 days coincides with the time of Lent in the Christian tradition.
Please keep Kaleb in your prayers, light a candle to remind yourself–and others–of Kaleb’s witness and dedication to ending this shameful tragedy, and if possible, stop by and say “Hi” to show your support. You can also send a card or note to the LACW at 632 N. Brittania St., Los Angeles, CA 90033-1722, Attention Kaleb, or an e-mail with “Kaleb” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org to show your support. If you are on Facebook, keep up with Kaleb. Thank you. Check back for updates,.
Below photos: Left–Kaleb on Day 4; Right–Salvation Army Building
Day 4: Kaleb is doing okay except for being a bit light headed. He has had conversations with LAPD officers and the “Red Shirts” from the Business Improvement District (BIDs). Some support, some puzzled why he is doing this. Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez will visit Kaleb and highlight him in an upcoming column.