LACW Kaleb Havens Not Arrested–So Far.

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.

“Hello my name is Ariana Alcaraz and I am a member of the Los Angeles Community Action Network

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.

Thank you.

Please reach out if you have any questions.”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/03/05/lacw-kaleb-havens-not-arrested-so-far

Kaleb Risks Arrest

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/03/05/kaleb-risks-arrest

Who’s Taking Charge Of The Homeless Crisis?

The sixth in a series of L.A. Times EDITORIALS on the homeless crisis is, like the first, spot on and highlights why LACW Kaleb Havens struggles on day 17 of his hunger strike. Bottom line, City and County officials simply do nor care enough to do anything significant to end the crisis. Everyone wants to pass the buck and duck responsibility while more than 58,000 human beings are forced to live on the streets in utter squalor with LAPD (along with other police and sheriff departments) providing 24/7 harassment to make a miserable situation intolerable.

We MUST constantly remind ourselves about Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-46: What we do or fail to do to the least among us, we do or fail to do to Christ Jesus. This is the ONLY criteria listed in the gospels on how individuals and societies will be judged.

An excerpt: “Two years after Los Angeles city leaders said they were about to declare (although they never actually did) a state of emergency over a deepening homelessness crisis; 18 months after county supervisors called on the state to declare such an emergency (it didn’t); More than a year after voters overwhelmingly agreed to pay $1.2 billion to house people now living on the street; Eight months after L.A. County voters raised their sales taxes by a quarter-cent on the dollar to pay for mental health care and other support services for the homeless; And now, deep into another winter in which tens of thousands of people huddled in flimsy tents or with no shelter at all face violent Santa Ana winds, chilling nights and seasonal downpours — Where are we?

How many people have we housed, or at least, how many are we on track toward housing? Is Los Angeles setting the national standard for rapid and effective response to a vexing problem? Or are its leaders merely mastering the art of appearances while passing the buck and hoping things turn around?

Who knows? L.A. homelessness stats are spread among obscure reports from city, county and federal agencies.

And you’ll learn nothing by attending a meeting of the body charged with ending homelessness or hearing the report from the homelessness czar — the point person reporting directly to both the city’s mayor and the county Board of Supervisors. That’s because there is no committee and no czar with sole responsibility for ending homelessness. Or rather, there are many committees and many sub-commanders, which is almost the same as there being none at all.”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/03/02/whos-taking-charge-of-the-homeless-crisis

Los Angeles’ Homeless Crisis Is a National Disgrace

If you have not the opportunity to read the excellent Los Angeles Times editorial from the Sunday, February 25 edition, you can do so HERE. It is by far the best editorial they have ever published on the homeless crisis in Los Angeles, and it is why LACW Kaleb Havens is on day 15 of his hunger strike. However, it is much more than a national disgrace. It is unconscionable, immoral, and an abomination.

An excerpt:There are few sights in the world like nighttime in skid row, the teeming Dickensian dystopia in downtown Los Angeles where homeless and destitute people have been concentrated for more than a century.

Here, men and women sleep in rows, lined up one after another for block after block in makeshift tents or on cardboard mats on the sidewalks — the mad, the afflicted and the disabled alongside those who are merely down on their luck. Criminals prey on them, drugs such as heroin and crystal meth are easily available, sexual assault and physical violence are common and infectious diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis and AIDS are constant threats.

Skid row is — and long has been — a national disgrace, a grim reminder of man’s ability to turn his back on his fellow man. But these days it is only the ugly epicenter of a staggering homelessness problem that radiates outward for more than 100 miles throughout Los Angeles County and beyond. There are now more than 57,000 people who lack a “fixed, regular or adequate place to sleep” on any given night in the county, and fewer than 1 in 10 of them are in skid row.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/02/28/los-angeles-homelessness-crisis-is-a-national-disgrace

LACW Kaleb Havens Photo Used With Housing Story In L.A. Times

A Los Angeles Times article in the Thursday, February 22, 2018 print edition highlighted Kaleb’s photo with Emily Alpert Reyes’ article about Los Angeles lawmakers pledging to provide at least 222 housing units for homeless people. See article HERE.

Today, Saturday, February 24, is Day 11 of Kaleb’s 46-day hunger strike. He is holding up well and is in good spirits. He began taking electrolyte tablets along with a small amount of chicken bone broth once each day to maintain his stamina. In above photo a reporter is interviewing Kaleb for a different article than what is posted here.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/02/24/lacw-kaleb-havens-photo-used-with-housing-story-in-l-a-times

LACW Kaleb Havens Interviewed By L.A. Times


Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez, interviewed Kaleb on Tuesday, February 20, and wrote an article dealing with Kaleb’s fast and the homeless crisis. See the video and read the article HERE.

An excerpt: “Kaleb Havens could have given up candy, pizza or tacos for the 46 days of Lent.

That would have been reasonable, right?

Instead the 30-year-old Catholic Worker activist gave up all food last week, on Ash Wednesday, and began a hunger strike.

Havens also chained himself to a fence on skid row, at 5th and Central, to protest conditions in the homeless capital of the Western Hemisphere and to call attention to the need for a response that matches the size of the emergency.

This was not the most strategic location, given that his favorite restaurant — Catch 21 — is just a few feet away. The wafting scent of fried fish is a constant tease, Havens said, even in his sleep.”

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/02/21/lacw-kaleb-havens-interviewed-by-l-a-times

LACW Kaleb Havens Begins 46-Day Hunger Strike

 
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 info@lacatholicworker.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.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/02/15/lacw-kaleb-havens-begins-a-46-day-hunger-strike

February 2018 Agitator

Here is the February Catholic Agitator

In This Issue:

      • Is Property Destruction Violent Or Nonviolent? by Theo Kayser
      • The New Poor People’s Campaign by Dimitri Kadiev
      • Happy Birthday, Tensie
      • We Acted From Our Hearts – An Interview With Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya
      • An Ideological Firestorm by Jeff Dietrich
      • Losing My Trust And My Smile by Saima Scott
      • Convergence Border Watch by Ken Baldwin
      • Moving Closer To Nuclear War by Alexandria Addesso
      • Better Know a Volunteer by Sarah Fuller and Theo Kayser

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/02/15/february-2018-agitator

Super Bowl Party At The LACW

On Super Bowl Sunday, we had 27 friends from downtown at Hennacy House to watch the big game, or just enjoy time away from the streets, and delight in plenty of snacks, including some great guacamole, salsa, nacho cheese, and another dip to have with a variety of chips, peanuts, soda, coffee, ice water, and a dinner that included broccoli with nacho cheese, mashed potatoes, gravy, and roast beef along with buns for those who preferred a sandwich. A great time was enjoyed by all.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/02/07/super-bowl-party-at-the-lacw

Happy Birthday, Tensie!

One’s 50th birthday is a milestone for anyone. But Tensie Hernandez’s 50th birthday was not only a milestone for her, but for the L.A. Catholic Worker as well as our network of Sister House communities. In 1987 Tensie, at age 17, was our very first summer intern, and she has been with the movement ever since. For the past 21 years, Tensie along with her husband Dennis Apel have been at the Guadalupe Catholic Worker with their two children Rozella and Thomas.

On January 28, we gathered in Oakview, north of Los Angeles, at the home of Ched Myers and Elaine Enns, along with Sister communities from the S.F. Bay area for a surprise party and a joyful celebration. Congratulations, Tensie! (Tensie is second from left in photo on left. Photo on right is singing Happy Birthday.)

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/02/05/happy-birthday-tensie

LACW Is Interviewed by U.N. Special Rapporteur On Skid Row Homeless

On Wednesday, January 24, LACW Kaleb Havens was interviewed and video taped by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha. Kaleb gave a brief synopsis of who we are and what services we provide to the homeless on Skid Row. Ms. Farha toured Skid Row, visited our soup kitchen (above right), and interviewed individuals who represented organizations that either work with and/or serve the Skid Row poor. This was a follow up to the last U.N. Rapporteur (Philip Alston) who came to Los Angeles in DECEMBER and filed a scathing report on the deplorable conditions on Skid Row. Other LACW’s also in attendance were Micah Wullschleger and Maria Teresa Kamel (below). Thank you to L.A. Community Action Network for the photos.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/01/26/lacw-is-interviewed-by-u-n-special-rapporteur-on-skid-row-homeless

What If L.A.’s Homeless Population Were A City? Temporary Trailers for 67 Persons As A Short Term Solution? Homeless Deaths Doubled–All Pitiful.


 
 This LINK is to an excellent Op-Ed piece that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, January 16.

An excerpt:
“Fifty-seven thousand eight hundred. That’s approximately how many people are homeless in Los Angeles County on any given night. If they all came together, they would constitute a city the size of (suburban) Arcadia.

What would such a city look like? What can we say about its residents, its health, its future?

If we walked through Homeless City, we would see that more than two-thirds of its residents are male. Four of every 10 people we meet would be African American — many more than in the surrounding areas, where only 9% of residents and 12% of those living in poverty are African American.

We wouldn’t get very far before being struck by the children of Homeless City. One of every 10 city residents is a child. We ought to be particularly worried for these 5,370 youths because experiencing homelessness as a child powerfully predicts later homelessness.”

TEMPORARY TRAILERS FOR THE HOMELESS

This LINK is to Mayor Garcetti and the City Council’s solution to end homelessness. A very pathetic and shamelful response to say the least in one of the nation’s wealthiest cities. Obviously the poorest of the poor in Los Angeles mean little to nothing to Los Angeles city officials.

REPORT SAYS HOMELESS DEATHS IN L.A. COUNTY DOUBLED IN FIVE YEARS

This LINK gives the grim and shameful story of the more than 800 homeless people who died on Los Angeles County streets and in shelters during 2017. This is morally wrong and unacceptable in the wealthiest nation in human history. May God have mercy on U.S.

Permanent link to this article: http://lacatholicworker.org/2018/01/19/what-if-l-a-s-homeless-population-were-a-city