Open Collective
Open Collective
Community Clean Up Day
Published on April 15, 2023 by Kris R

Our unhoused neighbors at the Juanita Community in Rampart Village asked us to support them in a Community Clean Up Day tomorrow, Sunday April 16 at 9:30am to try to stop a sweep scheduled for next week. But to get the sweep downgraded to a spot cleaning, we need your help.

1) Volunteer: Residents requested help disassembling their makeshift wood shelters, which the city deemed a fire hazard, and replacing them with quality tents. We'll also pick up trash, clean the sidewalk, and remove debris, including items that people outside of their community illegally dump in the alley next to them. If you're available to join us, sign up here.

2) Donate: Almost all 30 residents of the Juanita Community live in constructed shelters, which means we need a lot of replacement tents. We're also purchasing tools and cleaning supplies to ensure this effort is a success! If you're able to make a tax-deductible donation, visit our Open Collective page.

3) Share: Retweet us, share our Instagram post, and text your friends. The more people who show up, the better!

Food, coffee, water, masks, and gloves will be provided.

Why is a community clean up a better option?

First and foremost, this is what the unhoused residents of the Juanita Community unanimously asked for. They want the chance to resolve the City's concerns on their own terms and make accommodations for disabled residents who are unable to move their belongings. Many unhoused people have lived through sweeps that trashed their shelter and all their belongings, disbanded their community support system, and had cops and city workers harass and intimidate them. Sweeps traumatize, but they also re-traumatize.

Without intervention, CARE+ sweeps force encampment residents who are home when sanitation arrives to put whatever belongings they can fit into trash bags and carry them off the block. Any items that residents can't transport are trashed or impounded downtown at a place called the BIN. (However, encampment residents almost never see their hauled-off items again because the City doesn't provide any resources to retrieve those belongings.) Sanitation then trashes anything left on the block, including tents, other forms of shelter, and the belongings of residents who aren't there. Any broken-down vehicles that unhoused folks sleep in usually get towed, too. In best-case scenarios, sanitation might provide a handful of one-person tents, but most unhoused people displaced by sweeps are left without any kind of shelter.

What are we doing to prevent future sweeps at this location?

LA Street Care did what we always do. We started by asking the unhoused folks who are impacted, and they identified some common sense solutions: trash cans that will be regularly serviced, a toilet, and a hygiene station. We're already in contact with the city about providing these services, and we're optimistic that they will help eliminate future health and safety concerns.

However, funding for the City's portable toilets and hygiene stations is about to run out, and the Mayor's Office has declined to comment on whether she will include additional funding in her upcoming annual budget proposal. Contact Mayor Bass and your City Councilmember to urge them to provide more funding for these facilities to avoid a human rights and health crisis!