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 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.

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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

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.”


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.


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.

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We Welcome Back our “Washington Clippers” Foot Care Team

Each January, for two weeks, four to six beautiful, wonderful, and amazing women from Olympia, Washington, travel down to the LACW to care for the feet of the Skid Row poor and homeless. This week they began their ministry and have a fully booked schedule each day Tuesday – Saturday from 7:00 am until noon. Welcome back Rev. Kathleen, Maggie, Saima, Cheryl, Nancy, and Judy.

In photos are: above left, Cheryl, above right, Maggie, left, Rev. Kathleen, right, Saima; below left – Judy. below right – Nancy.

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2018 Summer Intern Program Applications Now Available

Applications for the 2018 LACW Summer Intern Program are now being accepted. This year’s summer program will begin on Monday, July 2 and end on Saturday, August 11.

To learn more about our Summer Program see our INTERN OPPORTUNITIES page.

You can download an application HERE or e-mail or call 323-267-8789 to request one along with any questions you might have. Closing date is March 27.

Please complete and either e-mail it to or mail it via USPS to:
L.A. Catholic Worker, 632 N. Brittania St., Los Angeles, CA 90033-1722, Attn: Summer Intern Program.

Notification of acceptance will be in early to mid April at the latest.

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United Nations Rapportuer Recently Toured Los Angeles’ Skid Row – Gives A Scathing Report

This LINK and this LINK are to two Los Angeles Times articles on the U.N. monitor on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who recently toured Skid Row, and in his preliminary report gave harsh criticism on the conditions human beings are forced to live in on the streets of Los Angeles. In above photos, Philip Alston and General Dogon, from Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN).

An excerpt: “The United Nations’ monitor on extreme poverty and human rights said Friday that political will created the hundreds of encampments that he saw lining the streets of Los Angeles, adding that the country is rich enough to end homelessness.

‘But we don’t want to put the money into it,’ special rapporteur Philip Alston, just off a two-week fact finding tour that included downtown L.A.’s skid row, said at a Washington, D.C., news conference. ‘We want to see homeless people as losers, a low form of life.'”

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Saturday Volunteers Serve With Christmas Spirit

Regular Saturday volunteer Larry Gunsalas brought in a bag of Christmas head gear on December 16, which volunteers wore while serving and voicing Christmas greetings to our guests, which brought smiles to many faces.

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Angel City Chorale Performs At Hippie Kitchen

On Saturday, December 9, the Angel City Chorale again made their annual visit to Skid Row to sing Christmas Carols in our dining garden. Everyone from guests eating in the garden to volunteers and community members thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Each year their performance seems to go up a notch. This year, as last, they had a variety of songs from old classics to newer originals. As is the custom, near the end of the concert they spread out among the tables and invited everyone to join in a sing-a-long. The entire hour+ was a wonderful holiday treat. Thank you, Angel City Chorale, for making time to visit our garden and spread the holiday spirit among L.A.’s most poorest. Blessings upon all and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope to see you again next year.

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LACW Attends County Burial Memorial For Unclaimed Dead

On Wednesday, December 6, the LACW attended the Los Angeles County Annual Burial Of The Unclaimed Dead, a memorial that has been held since 1896. This year the ashes of 1495 unclaimed bodies of people who died in 2014 were laid to rest in a common grave at Evergreen County Cemetery, in Boyle Heights. For the past few years the attendance has greatly increased, most likely because of press coverage. This year there were more than 200 people who came to pay their respects to those who died with no one to claim their bodies, including an infant. Our longtime friend, fellow activist, and celebrant at our liturgy on the first Wednesday of each month, Fr. Chris Ponnet, presided. (Double click on photos to view in high resolution.)

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