At least 20 families were forcibly evicted of unoccupied public housing in Los Angeles, California, by state highway patrol officers.
The evictions in the community of El Sereno, which occurred the night before Thanksgiving And in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, they caused outrage among people in the community and activists who protested outside their homes.
“In these times, with the economy, with everything that has happened with the virus, many of us find ourselves in a difficult situation, so housing is a human right,” Iris de Anda, one of the people evicted at night, told Telemundo News Wednesday.
In videos published on social networks, you can see how the agents, in the middle of the night, dressed in riot gear, surround the houses and force in at least one barred door.
In one of the recordings, shared on Twitter by the Street Watch LA tenant association, you can see how agents drag a person trying to free himself, whom the activists identified as a minor.
“We are seeing the police force coming, without touching their hearts, the day before Thanksgiving, to evict these families who were living on the streets,” said Carlos Marroquín, a community organizer.
Homes belong to the California Department of Transportation (Cal Trans), which planned to demolish them to expand the 710 freeway, a project that was scrapped.
Cal Trans told Noticias Telemundo in a statement that “the unoccupied houses that were taken along State Route 710 are unsafe and uninhabitable.”
[California amplía cinco meses la prohibición de desalojar por impago de la renta debido a la crisis del coronavirus]
On a GoFundMe page the group Reclaim and Rebuild Our Community, in favor of occupying vacant public housing, said the evicted families had “peacefully” moved into their homes this week. And that the age of the occupants ranged between three months and 70 years.
“People of color are definitely facing the ‘darkest winter’, not only because COVID is soaring again, but for us the economic crisis has worsened and the tsunami of evictions is destroying the miniscule amount of affordable housing that was available in the state, “they wrote on the website to collect funds for families.
[Los CDC amplían la prohibición de desalojo por impago de la renta debido a la pandemia de COVID-19]
California faces an affordable housing crisis. Just in county Los Angeles there are more than 63,000 homeless people, of which more than 43,000 live on the streets, according to data from the Los Angeles Homeless Service.
“Evicting us exactly on this day, Thanksgiving, it makes me ironic that they are treating us this way,” Iris de Anda lamented.
Correspondent Francisco Cuevas contributed to this report from Los Angeles, California.