tents in park, with sign reading "House Keys Not Handcuffs"

A System That Threatens Rights of the Unhoused

A New Republic article on Los Angeles homelessness policies that led to the 2021 sweep of an encampment at Echo Park Lake cited UCLA Luskin faculty members Ananya Roy and Mark Vestal. The two scholars described a shelter system that often violates the rights of unhoused individuals. Roy, director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy and author of a report on the fallout from the Echo Park Lake eviction, said residents of interim housing face “a constant stripping of rights in the way that in prison you’re stripped of your rights.” Before entering interim housing, residents must testify that “no tenancy is created,” effectively denying them hard-fought rights associated with being a tenant, said Vestal, an assistant professor of urban planning. He added that politicians and police often deploy the language of mental illness, “justifying the shelter system as a medical intervention,” rather than confronting the public policies that deprive people of dignified housing.


 

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