California Highway Patrol officers forcibly removed those who had their publicly owned homes vacant in El Sareno late Wednesday night, after thanksgiving – amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Videos of the eviction, posted on Twitter, show dozens of officers crowding the road near Sheffield Avenue and Poplar Boulevard at around 7pm. The officers were met by a wave of protesters who shouted “Shame on you!” As the authorities went from house to house, those who had gone out of the house were removed.
At least one CHP team opened the door to a video show, one of the houses.
Activists said just hours after they moved into homes owned by the California Department of Transportation, activists argued that government officials had failed to provide the necessary shelter to stay healthy during the COVID-19 epidemic.
It was not clear how many people were evacuated from their homes. The CHP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Caltrans has dozens of homes in the area purchased years ago as part of the now-failed plan to expand the 710 freeway. In March, a group of homeless and housing-insecure Angelenoso took over A separate set of houses, Citing coronovirus.
Claudia Lara, a member of Reclaim and Rebuild Our Community, said families who moved on Wednesday included children up to 3 months old and children over 70 who were living in cars and dera.
Lara said she was watching last night when the group descended on the homes to ask officers to attend a press conference.
“To do this during the holidays, it is inhumane. It is really irresponsible, ”she said. “Housing is a human right, and all families are eligible for safe haven, especially during global epidemics.”
Housing activists sent a letter to Newsom on Wednesday in which they reported that people were moving into the homes and asking for its support, while those in the houses used them in “shelters” during the epidemic.
“We, people of color, are certainly facing ‘The Darkest Winter’, not only because COVID-19 is reverberating, but because for us, the economic crisis has worsened and a tsunami of eviction has become affordable.” The number of houses is already dwarfing less than zero. Statewide, ”the letter said.
“As you said, we are safe if we have the ability to self-quarantine and are safely isolated in a house. So we ask that as governor, you can direct all your utilities to Caltrans to new families Ask to be allowed to do: heating and running water and electricity are necessary to safely shelter in a safe place. “
Newsom and his family are Currently in quarantine He had tested positive for COVID-19 at the Fair Oaks estate after exposing his children to two separate incidents.
In response to Wednesday night’s evictions, Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin De Leon tweeted that his office worked for hotel vouchers and “other increasingly rehearsing solutions” for immediate needs while negotiating with the state’s families. Has secured permanent support for.
De Leon, who was elected in March to join the city’s 14th Council District, said El Sereno was involved, saying he reached out to the governor this morning.
“It is unreasonable that someone should be forced to spend on the road, thanking or any day of the year,” he said.
De Leon also criticized using such physical methods of enforcement. The pictures I saw from last night are shocking and unacceptable. “
Records kept by The Times show that in 2015, 37 of the El Sereno homes were listed as “deserted”, including two dozen apartment units. Over the years, residents have complained of break-ins, molds and vermin infestations. This figure has increased in recent years.
In a statement, Caltrans spokesman Matt Rocco confirmed that the vacant houses along the 710 freeway were “unsafe and uninhabited.”
“As such, Caltrans requested the CHP to remove the trespasses, so that the assets could be protected and boarded up again,” Rocco said.
He said the agency was working with local governments to lease many of its properties for use as temporary emergency shelters. He said the Housing Authority of Los Angeles recently signed a lease to use 22 of the Caltrans-owned vacant properties for the city’s transitional housing program.
Rocco said in the statement, “As Caltrans continues to sell the remaining homes on the corridor, it is committed to working with local institutions and other stakeholders.
In March, families handling homes in El Sereno said they were inspired by a Homeless mothers group Which took similar action in Oakland late last year. Those women occupied a vacant, corporate-owned property and, after evicting them, secured the governor to force the sale of Bay Area property to a community land trust.
Times staff writer Liam Dillon contributed to this report.