Many of you have either been actively involved in such displacement or supported it through your silent acquiescence. Especially troubling is the Mayor’s statement, suggesting that such displacement serves as a useful precedent and template.
As reported by the LA Times on March 27, 2021 “Mayor Eric Garcetti framed the effort as a success, calling it “the largest housing transition of an encampment ever in the city’s history.” As experts in the fields of urban planning, social work, history, law, public policy, and public health, we strongly disagree with this declaration of success and instead highlight the far-reaching damage wrought by such displacement.
The Echo Park Lake displacement took place in violation of COVID-19 guidelines issued by the CDC for encampments. These call for the provision of sanitation services in encampments and warn against their clearance. On March 29, 2021, the CDC once again issued a temporary halt in all evictions, noting the endangerment of public health through evictions.
The Echo Park Lake displacement took place in violation of UN standards and protocols for adequate housing. These prohibit the forced eviction of encampments and informal settlements. Indeed, Leilani Farha, former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, stated on March 27, 2021:
“Echo Park is an example of what happens when govts [sic] don’t understand homeless encampments as human rights claims and homeless people as human rights defenders.”
It was eviction at gunpoint, one that entailed the invasion and closure of the park by a militarized police force and led to “uncertainty, fear, anger” for the homeless residents of Echo Park Lake[…]
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