In response to the continued and increasing housing crisis in Downtown Los Angeles and surrounding areas hundreds of people took to the streets, marching to City Hall and taking over the City Council and the Mayor's office on March 25 in protest for affordable housing and lack of action by the respective offices. The march went from La Placita, Our City of Angels Church to City Hall.
A smaller group entered early and opened the rear doors where the first flood entered. When those doors closed the front entrance was clogged by entering protesters, blocking that entrance and stopping all City Hall business until the people's demands were heard.
Protestors filled City Council and the Mayor's office, refusing to leave until the list of demands was heard.
During the peaceful assembly, police made one arrest: 68-year-old Helen. Apparently police accused her of "resisting arrest," though she was only waiting for her turn on the microphone to present demands to the Council. The people responded by refusing to leave without her release and Councilmember Janice Hahn stood up and stated that if Helen was not released there would be two arrests that day, as she would be arrested also. Later Hahn said that she felt arresting a 68-year-old woman was a bit much.
Outside, protestors continued to rally and picket with much support from passersby. The entire event lasted four hours, with the eventual release of Helen showing her injuries: bruising from her wrist to her elbow and bleeding where she was handcuffed.
Agencies that participated included Housing LA, LA CAN, Lamp Community, Coalition LA, ACORN, East LA Community, Union De Vecinos, POWER, Homeless Health Care, and many others.
The people had three demands and read them as follows:
The City needs to take action to protect thousands of families at risk of losing their housing. We are demanding that the city take action to protect Housing LA's list of 100 buildings that are at risk due to the high likelihood of demolition or conversion, consistent harassment and illegal eviction attempts, or severe slum conditions. We demand action on these 100 buildings within 100 days.
The Mayor and each City Councilmember must designate a point person on their staff who will be responsible for:
- Working with tenants, Housing LA members, and relevant City departments to ensure the problems at the 100 buildings are resolved within 100 days, including bi-weekly progress reports.
- Working with tenants and Housing LA members after the initial 100-day period to ensure tenant rights and housing violations are resolved proactively in the future.
- Working with individual residents to ensure that they don't unjustly lose their homes.
- The City Council and the Mayor need to move from studies to action and implement our three housing policy priorities within six months:
- Designate permanent, dedicated source(s) of funding for the City's Housing Trust Fund to ensure a minimum of $100 million into the fund each year.
- Preserve existing affordable housing by prohibiting condo conversions and passing a permanent residential hotel protection ordinance.
- Enact a citywide mixed-income housing requirement, so that developers are required to include affordable units in all new housing throughout the City of Los Angeles.
The event resulted in an agreement from the Mayor to meet with the people within one week to respond to the demands.