Open Collective
Open Collective
Published on June 18, 2023 by Ndindi Kitonga

 Greetings all! 

Here are some recent PUMA updates 

1. Addressing Houselessness in California

 Here is a quick piece I wrote for the California Progressive Alliance & LA Progressive last month. Addressing Houselessness in California

 “Study after study shows that criminalization, displacement, and coercion, when used to address houselessness, are expensive, ineffective, cruel, and non-lasting. What most unhoused people have been asking for are the following no-barrier services: access to clean water, food, waste disposal, electricity, clean restrooms, medical and mental health care, regular accessible harm reduction which includes substance use disorder treatment options, AND permanent sustainable housing.”

2. The Jasmine Community Pushes Back on the City

Here is a letter written by the Jasmine Community, a group of unhoused Palms residents we engage with. The city tried to sweep them and push them to a demolition site several blocks away based on complaints from nearby housed residents. After writing this letter, mounting a courageous resistance, and getting many in our local communities involved, the city was able to find interim housing in motel rooms for the residents. Some residents were moved to an interim shelter motel that is 12 miles away from their communities and familiar surroundings. Others remain unhoused and unsheltered nearby. We are still in relationships with the folks from this community and will continue to support them as they navigate the interim shelter system that offers little in the way of basic supplies, casework, or mental health support. 

Please continue to pay attention to the issues and uplift the demands of your unhoused neighbors.
Banner of unhoused communities’ demands

3. Thank You for Supporting the Birthday Fundraiser

Thank you to everyone who supported the PUMA birthday fundraiser. We collected 3 car fulls of donations and a little over $1500. For those who missed it, here is a photo of our friends doing the “Dunk an Activist” fundraiser challenge.
Last year we participated in several summer night festivals and community days. These are occasions where we partner with local communities to share supplies, wound care, music, and art, as well as exchange skill shares and teach-ins. This month we are looking to host a community day at a local interim housing motel. We are still in active fundraiser mode as we look forward to hosting robust community days across several sites in Los Angeles. 

The lack of services and basic amenities in interim shelter motels is widespread and as such we are supporting more and more folks who are in temporary housing situations. On average that comes to $50-100/week per person for basic necessities such as groceries, toilet paper, soap, and clothing that should be offered by Inside Safe and other such programs. 

If you are interested in getting involved and /or donating items, please let us know. Feel free to donate here: Open Collective.

Happy Summer!

P.S. Resource for the month: 
Here is a digital copy of street views, a Los Angeles-based mutual aid newspaper by and for unhoused communities featuring original art, stories, and other submissions. This project emerged out of a graduate class at UCLA's Luskin School led by our friends at @aetnastreetsolidarity . The newspaper is an ongoing project that unhoused LA residents will continue to produce: