On Thanksgiving Day, homeless families were evicted from empty houses

California Highway Patrol officers forcibly removed people who “recovered” empty, state-owned homes in El Sereno late Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving, amid the jump in COVID-19 cases.

Videos of the evictions posted on Twitter show dozens of officers around 7pm near Sheffield Avenue and Poplar Boulevard. as authorities moved from house to house, removing those who moved into homes.

At least one CHP team opened the door to one of its home, video shows.

The eviction took place a few hours after 20 families moved into houses owned by Caltrans, arguing that government officials did not provide the shelter needed to stay healthy during the COVID-19 epidemic.

It was not clear how many people were evicted from the houses. The CHP did not respond immediately to the comment.

Caltrans has dozens of homes in the area that were purchased years ago as part of a now failed plan to extend the 710 freeway. In March, the homeless and homeless Angelenos group occupied another house group citing the coronavirus.

Claudia Lara, a member of Reclaim and Rebuild Our Community, said the families who moved in on Wednesday included children aged 3 months and seniors over 70 who lived in cars and camps.

Lara said she watched officers land on homes last night after the group held a press conference for Governor Gavin Newsom’s support.

“This is inhuman during the holidays. This is really irresponsible. “- He told. “Housing is a human right and every family deserves safe haven, especially in times of global epidemic.”

Housing activists on Wednesday sent a letter to Newsom informing them that people are moving into houses and asking for their support while those living in homes use them for “local shelter” during the epidemic.

“We, colored people, are certainly facing the darkest winter, not only because COVID-19 is alive again, but also because the economic crisis has worsened for us and the tsunami of evictions is dwarfed by the already small number of affordable housing available across the state.” – reads in the letter. “As you said, we are safer if we are able to self-quarantine and securely isolate ourselves in a home. We therefore ask you, as governor, to instruct Caltrans so that new families can turn on all their utilities immediately: heating, running water and electricity are essential to a safe haven.

Newsom and his family are currently quarantined on their Fair Oaks property after their children were exposed to two different events for someone who gave a positive result for COVID-19.

According to records kept by The Times, in 2015, 37 of the El Sereno houses were classified as “uninhabitable,” including two dozen homes. Over the years, residents have complained of burglaries, mold and pest infections. This figure seems to have increased in recent years.

Caltrans spokesman Matt Rocco confirmed in a statement that homes vacated along Highway 710 were “unsafe and uninhabitable”.

“As such, Caltrans has asked CHP to remove the infringers so that the properties can be reinsured and boarded up,” Rocco said.

The agency, in cooperation with local governments, leased many of its available properties for use as temporary emergency shelters, he added. According to him, the Los Angeles housing authority recently signed a lease for the use of 22 vacant properties owned by Caltrans for the city’s temporary housing program.

“As Caltrans continues to sell the houses left in the hallway, it is committed to working with local organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that the properties are used for affordable housing,” Rocco said in a statement.

Families who took homes in El Sereno in March said they were inspired by a group of homeless mothers who took similar steps in Oakland late last year. These women took over a vacant, corporate-owned property and, after being evicted, received support from the governor to force the Bay Area property to be sold on a community land.

Times staff member Liam Dillon contributed to this report.