On Monday, March 5, the City of Los Angeles Sanitation Department Street Cleaners and LAPD chose not to sweep the block that Kaleb is on in order not to deal with a confrontation with the 57 friends who gathered in support of Kaleb and his hunger strike–day 19.
There was a press conference with Channel 7 Eyewitness News, L.A. Times, 89.3 KPCC, one of the NPR stations in Los Angeles, and other media reps in attendance. Below the photos is a statement from Ariana, representing the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN). Other statements were given by Maria Teresa from the LACW, Steve from the Socialist Democrats of Los Angeles, among a few others. We closed the press conference with everyone praying over Kaleb.
Since the city chose not to conduct its scheduled bi-weekly sweep, 17 Kaleb supporters, led by General Dogon from LA CAN and LACW Matt Harper, took brooms and shovels and swept the entire block that other folks who camp on the same block with Kaleb would not get angry at him because they were forced to move all their possessions for no reason since the city chose not to sweep. By 10:30am the block was cleaned with two huge piles of trash piled on each end of the block, which the city assured us would be cleared by the end of the day. More photos will be posted at a later date.
In 2017 LA CAN conducted a community research project in which we attempted to identify underutilized spaces throughout our community that can be used to permanently house houseless people. Over 150 spaces were identified. Many of them either completely empty or underutilized buildings that are being sat on until it is profitable for the landowners to do something with them. Places like the Salvation Army building. They are accountable to this community. California voters agreed when passing Proposition HHH, that funding the creation of housing for those who need it most, has to be a priority in our city but city leaders are not doing enough! We had to create an inventory that lists all the properties, from 3rd to 8th and central to Broadway just to show all the opportunities. We included Broadway not just because it falls within the old Skid Row boundaries, but because it is also an area that has seen a lot of investment. A celebrated $1 billion from Council member Jose Huizar. But where is real investment in housing for the over 5,000 homeless people who currently call this community their home while luxury market rate housing units continues to be built by the hundreds for people who don’t even live here yet.
The City of Los Angeles must take creative measures to address the homeless crisis. The California Housing Partnership Corporation estimates over 550,000 units of affordable housing units are needed in LA County just to meet the housing crisis, empty buildings and underutilized space must be fully examined, city owned or not.
We call on the City of Los Angeles to conduct its own inventory of empty or underutilized buildings that are privately owned in the downtown area and the potential use of Prop HHH funds to build affordable housing for extremely and deeply low income people. This study should also include the vacancies in residential hotels that are listed in the Wiggins settlement and covered under the Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance, places like the Cecil Hotel which currently sits with over 200 units empty, a perfect example of underutilized space. We want the vacancies of all those buildings to be included in the study as well.
Please reach out if you have any questions.”