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SGV Connect 110 Interview Transcript: the Reclaimers

Damien : I'm Damien, we're Streetsblog Los Angeles and this is the  SGV Connect Podcast. I'm here with Sandra, Marta, and Benito: Reclaimers who will explain just a minute what all of that means. And Fannie, who's helping to organize some of their efforts. Let's just start off with this question, what is Reclaimer, what it is that you've done to earn that title, and why did you do it? Benito : We are Reclaimers because we have to because of desperation. I was living in a van for fourteen years. I am angry about the system.  They said the homeless are homeless because they are amazing. They are drug addicts, criminals. I'm not lazy. I'm not ruining. I'm not a criminal. So why in Congress in the explanation and our thesis is really, really grim. pretty grim, really bad. Because we the homeless are homeless because the big people on the top, the legend, NATO, a city council, they are making laws to convert those into homeless. They are making Laos to raise the rents and they are making Laos to keep the minimum wage low. So nobody can make it now, it's only them. We're talking about the City of Los Angeles and city Council of Los Angeles. They have the monopoly to create the laws, nobody created the laws. They allowed the rent to go up. And they have allowed the minimum wage to stay down. They know when the rent was rising, and the people cannot pay the rent, the minimum which  should be rising to keep the balances. They weren't creating this balance. And they know. Maybe they didn't do anything with a proposal. They didn't put the rent up and kept the minimum wage low. They know that they are creating the homeless. They know that people cannot pay the rent and go to live on the street. By manipulating the prices, that is an act of aggression. That is why they feed on us. And I am angry about that. And when I was living for 14 years in my van it was not in order to be homeless. I have to be a Reclaimer because I was angry. I was to go and take the empty houses. And I don't care if I go to jail. I was. And that makes me angry. Because they are and they are selling within the house in front of people when they raise the rent and why they raise the rent? Because they want to favor the landlord because the landlord pays for the political campaigns. That is bribery. Damien : Let's switch over to the folks at Eastside cafe for a second. It's been almost three years since the Reclaimers first moved into the housing in the El Sereno community. Was everyone here in the first group that moved in? Marta : Yes, we came on March 14 2020. And it's… Damien : When you first moved in, I assume Caltrans was not happy about this. But over time, there was sort of a settlement reached to allow you all to stay there for a couple of years. Could you describe what it's been like to live there and have to deal with these differences? I mean, you had to deal with Caltrans. And you had to deal with the city. I'm not even sure who you're who you're working with now. Marta : So, on March 14 2020, was the start of a pandemic lockdown that we had, because of COVID-19. And Governor Newsom, that's the weekend he announced the lockdown. The state and the whole world was in chaos. So they didn't take us out, Governor Newsom told the CHP to stand down and not do anything when we reclaimed. But then with that process came also an offer to HACLA and PAP agency here in Los Angeles, to give us temporary housing. We took this because we were in desperation and really didn't want to be unsafe during COVID. But the contract itself was very carceral. They also tried to push us out pretty much the second week we stayed, we started to be housed in these houses. And the offers have been inadequate to our needs. They're outside of the community, they're outside our budget. And so the goal was that they would find permanent housing for us. And we would be able to move out of these homes. However, they haven't been able to provide permanent housing for us. They're inadequate. And also it's like, people don't understand that we were going through COVID. There's a lot of grief that happened, a lot of chaos, mental health issues, physical issues that people have to deal with that we're still recovering from. They haven't given us the time to really recover from that. So now we have an eviction notice by Beach Front which is the people that manage the program. And we're awaiting...some of us are awaiting a court date for that. Damien : Does the eviction notice have a date on it that you have to be out by next day? Obviously the court dates would change some of that. But is there a certain day that they are trying to push you all to be out by? Marta : We were supposed to be out already. They give us a three day notice, but we're fighting it, and we're taking it to court. And we've been trying to talk to them to let us transition in place, preferably with the El Sereno Community Land Trust, but give us options to be able to transition in place, given that this is our community. And these houses really had been hoarded by the State of California, some for 30 years, because they were going to construct a freeway here that  the community fought. They no longer will build the freeway, but these houses have been vacant and abandoned. And we just felt that this was really immoral, and disgusting for the state to be hoarding houses while people are dying on the streets. There are three vacant homes per one unhoused person here in Los Angeles. And there's also an average of five unhoused people that die each day. And these are the most vulnerable people, a lot of them elderly, veterans, people of color. And so this is not an individual issue. This is a systemic issue that is manufactured by politicians, and corporations. And like really making people suffer, and we find that really immoral and disgusting. And this was really a stance to bring that into light, and to really call out the systemic issues, and create something different, that creates less suffering that really brings a dignified humane life to us. Damien : Now, last time I covered this was all the way back in I guess, May or June of last year when Councilmember de Leon was pushing his plan for the El Sereno community and for those houses. Has there been any movement that you're aware of on that front? Or has sort of that fallen to the wayside? As you know, the councilmember has had other issues to deal with in his career. Because it seems like they were, "Oh, we have this whole plan for all these things we're going to do, which is why we need to get people out right now." This seemed to be the message from the council office last year. If that plan isn't happening, I was wondering if the there was still sort of that created urgency. Fanny : I think Well, Kevin de Leon, or any other political figures that are involved, are not saying anything publicly, but their actions speak loudly and clearly. The Reclaimers wouldn't exist if it wasn't for this system that extracts wealth, instead of investing and sustaining life, and sustaining it with dignity. And so therefore, the Reclaimers had to create a pathway for them to be placed in a home and reclaiming homes that have been empty for over 30 years. And that will probably continue to be empty while these political people contend and say that they're planning to do something with these homes. And in the meantime, we have folks that are sleeping in the streets with kids. And that's a huge contradiction that we've been prior to the pandemic, we knew that we were in a housing crisis. And it was exacerbated by the pandemic. And those conditions, it is what it is, and this is where we're at. And so, the Reclaimers are basically saying we're tired, and we're here and the political people need to do something. While they're saying that they're trying to do something, they're not doing anything to work directly with the Reclaimers. And that's what they need to do. They need to sit down and negotiate with the Reclaimers because they cannot be displaced from their shelter home that they claimed on March 14th of 2020. And here we are in 2023, and nothing. Nothing that is tangible for the Reclaimers is happening other than what they're planning behind closed doors. And they owe it to the people. They owe it to homeless folks to be placed with dignity and be preserved in a home. It's very painful to see it because there's millions of people that are at risk of being displaced right now because of COVID-19. And things are gonna get worse before they get better. Roberto : Yeah, that's true.  Kevin De Leon's plans... didn't go by the wayside. What happened is that HACLA is substituting in for Kevin de Leon and trying to legitimize the proposal. Their proposal, of course, was to take control of the  77 houses that or, quote unquote, “empty” on the corridor and the El Sereno side of the corridor. And the Reclaimers, besides wanting what Fanny was describing, and what Martha was describing: affordable housing for all, based on "housing as a human right;" they also include an aspect of self governance or self determination at the local area. In other words, Kevin de Leon thinks he knows. And so do the other officials like Senator Maria Elena-Durazo , who would also think they know what is good for the people. But they seldom go and work with the people, like Fanny was saying, work these things out, talk to them, and work these things out. Because the people have many community based solutions, which the politicians don't. They have a lot of market based solutions that are not real long term solutions for permanent housing. Damien : So going back to sort of the experience that folks have had, I see Ruby now in the green room. But in the meantime, the folks that are Reclaimers that have gone through the process, I'm wondering if anyone could sort of describe what actually happened those first couple of days. I don't I don't know how much work was done in some of these houses before people moved in: if doors were locked...How did it actually happen on March 14, that people moved into these houses. Sandra : My experience here coming to this space was as a community member, once I knew that it was different. Well, we used to come here, my children, me and my kids to have MMA classes. I used to do yoga here. And when I became homeless, I had to live in my car. And it happened here, literally here outside...we call it the island because it's an was full of tents. It's like they migrated here, right? The people come and they stay and they go, but other people...this place was always full. And so I lived in my car for three years on and off. This was the only place, literally across the street, where I could have a restroom. And people who were really not judgmental, but really  open to community. And one time they said that people one time after class, they said that people were looking to squat in these Caltrans homes. And so I said, "I want to join." I came to the meeting one day, and I met everyone who was interested , like Benito was here, Mark, Ruby, other organizers that I really didn't know but I was getting to know really fast. Because everything moves really really fast. Like literally we said, we're going to canvas the area. We're gonna look at the homes that are best kept. Some are so torn that they're not habitable. But some are really, really good; where it's like ready to move in. So we literally went out, I had a bike that was loaned to me and I went out and had a clipboard and literally said," Okay, this one check, check, check, and it's in a street. So the corridor, this street has a bunch of homes." So it's like home, empty, empty home empty. So once we knew that we wanted to do it fast, because obviously everything became like a shelter in place. Where do we shelter, we don't have a place? And so we started organizing it, it just happened that we chose this day. And this was really new to me, because of the level of organizing. We had people that were going to be allies. People who are going to bring food. People who are going to offer to do any maintenance or anything that needs to be done to actually stay in the home like turn on the water, get the power on. Do things like that. And literally that's how it happened. Some homes were boarded. Some homes were not boarded. It was just plain sight that these homes were empty. Of course it did have this sign, "no trespassing." Literally these homes have been here for ages. And I am from El Sereno. And I saw these homes empty. And I always thought, "How come nobody does anything?" I never connected the way how these homes were hoarded and how other people are homeless in their tents. But when somebody mentioned that we're going to squat in them it totally makes sense. It was like "why hasn't this happened sooner?" And  one day we said we're going to come, they said to me come at 3am and everybody met here. And we literally had people breaking the locks...actually, no, they broke the windows. We had everything prepared. They broke the window. Somebody broke in. Somebody changed the locks really fast. Different people had different experiences. My friend, she went in with her two girls. I went in by myself and it was very hard because we had a whole community look at us and watch our every move. We had a lot of support but we also had a lot of...what's the word? People were not happy; they were very aggressive. And so at this point we were already in so everything that came after that was part of the movement. A lot of people showed up. We had a 24 hour surveillance after we took the first home and people were really supportive. They brought food. They brought donations. I actually had a lot of relief. I didn't have to sleep in my car. I could shower. And this is how it's been. This is how it's I want it to stay Damien : This would be again for Marta, Bonito or Sandra. Over the past three years plus now how has the experience been with the community? Have the people that are your physical neighbors...have things cooled? Have things gotten more neighborly for lack of a better word? Sandra : But well there's some that did come to be like neighbors. Offer help but I don't know, others have not. But anyway, this happened in the beginning because before we were able to sign a lease. We were transitioning out of that home. I had a neighbor who's really hostile. And now the home where I finally signed the lease, the home where I am, it's really nice. It's close to a garden. My neighbors, I don't know if they are aware that I am a Reclaimer. But they just view and see me as a regular neighbor. Like, we do the same things. And they don't know how I got there. But at this point, it doesn't matter. I feel very comfortable having the community that I do have, and then other people need to be educated on what's really happening. They don't know what's really happening. It's only the things that are superficial. We should have done this a long time ago. And how come nobody did anything? That's what we told Kevin. That's what I mentioned to Maria Elena Durazo. "Where were you when I needed to defecate and nobody came to me? Not one time, not one time. Did I see anybody from any services?"  Damien : You were in places where there were encampments, the island that you mentioned, you were in places where people you were visible and still there weren't being offered. But then once you got into the house, once you were reclaiming that space, all of a sudden, there were plenty of people that wanted to come by from the government and talk with you.  Sandra : Yeah, everybody thought that really fast. I remember people were getting placed in hotels. But before that, they didn't even want to do a homeless count. They refuse to go out there and really look at the needs.  Damien : Okay, and Marta, was your experience similar to that? Marta : Oh, yeah, I just wanted to add with the neighbors. So there was a lot of misinformation. They were saying that the Reclaimers were not from El Sereno. The majority of the Reclaimers are actually from this community, from El Sereno. Not only that, some of them were actually rented from Caltrans, previous renters at these houses. So that was one of the biggest misinformation. Another one is that Caltrans had a list. And often they think the people on the list are their family members or friends that used to live here. But there's no such list that exists. Another thing that they said a lot was that there are other services, or other things that the city provides, which, as Sandra said, she wasn't offered any. I have previous experience doing social work with mothers, and the waiting lists are horrendous. The shelters are really horrible, especially for families. And so those were not options for me. So in getting to know the neighbors and also talking to them about this misinformation; some of them did change their minds, not all of them. And my experience with my current neighbors is really good. Soon as I moved in, they offered material help. I am a single mother of two daughters, and so they also offered just to keep an eye out and keep me and my daughter safe, which I totally am grateful for. I think another thing that did help is that we were receiving a lot of mutual aid from our supporters. And I was able to share that with neighbors and I think that also eased a lot of the conversations so they could get to know me as a person of a human being and talk about that this is not an individual issue. A lot of people are suffering systemically. A lot of people are a paycheck away from being unhoused and how we need to create this solidarity instead of fighting over scraps and create better programs that are making everyone's life better. Damien : Okay, Benito sort of a similar question for you then what's what's the experience been like? Have you had a chance to over the past couple of years? Have you been in the same place for three years for starters? And then what has been the reaction or interactions with the people that live near you? Benito : I have one very good neighbor. And I have two neighbors who actually don't talk to me. I think they're confused. Because they are confused about the idea of "law and order." So, law and order, they are good people. They are really good people. And they also are there to the idea of law and order. So they said they understand the homeless, but this is not a way to take them to go in the house illegally. But they are wrong. They are wrong because what is the way? The two hundred empty houses that were here when we took action. The same 200 houses are still empty. Three years, we have three years living in these houses. The next three years the other houses are empty. So, this homelessness is a manufactured crisis. They create the crisis. They create the crisis. Recently, they're renting and keeping the salary low. They can manufacture the crisis. So they have empty houses, they should repair. They should put the houses into use. That is a good thing to do. And they don't do it because they don't like people...they don't know people. So, my neighbor says this another way. It was the only way. Together as a community and go and take the empty houses. Some neighbors are angry, but there are more neighbors on our side. Who opened the house for us? The neighbors. Who was bringing us food? The neighbors. Who was keeping guard in the street to keep us safe? The neighbors. The people. So, this is a people's action. And then somebody said that we did something illegal? Well, why are we not in jail? Why didn't they take us to jail? Think about that. The only criminal here is Caltrans, who could keep the houses empty for 20 years and they still are empty. The houses are still empty. So, this action is a community action to take the empty houses is the way. Is a way that everybody needs to follow. Because our is sad but they are manufacturing the crisis. They are making laws to raise the rent in favor of the rich people in keeping the salary low. They use the real estate profit. You're gonna see up and so the form from the year 202, or maybe let's take 10 years and you see the graph. The real estate is making money. Very good investment. Up up and everybody happy. And then you see the homeless people. The homeless are increasing, the homeless are increasing the homeless and increasing my homeless. There is a relationship, a direct relationship. They are stealing our housing.  The only way is to take direct action and to take notice. No, it is empty houses, every empty house… there are three empty houses for every homeless. It's time to take action. And It is the government who needs to take action. It is a government who needs to, to take those empty houses and deliver to the homeless people. Because the government doesn't take cash from the people who are going to take action. Thank you. Damien :  And that's, a good good segway.  So what is it that you would want to see the government do now both in terms of your lives and what's going on directly with you? And then in sort of a larger sense, what can the government be doing to help alleviate this, this crisis, this ongoing homeless crisis in the city? And whoever wants to take it, feel free? Fanny : I think what we want to see, we want to see the government sitting down and negotiating with the Reclaimers. I'm speaking for myself, but I think they should create a pathway in housing homeless people instead of criminalizing them. Because as we see, the homeless encampments are being gated. And that's a loud and clear response from the government saying, "We don't want you in the streets." But you have all these empty homes that you should place the homeless folks in. And so the Reclaimers took that action in claiming El Sereno Caltrain homes that were sitting there empty for over 30 years And that was just a very limited amount of homes. Yet, like Benito mentioned, there's still over 200 homes that are still sitting empty, that have been sitting empty, not only during these three years, but for the last 30 years. So they need to sit down and negotiate with the Reclaimers and create a pathway with the Reclaimers to house homeless folks. Because who else is better than the homeless people who reclaim these homes and make it into a house for themselves and their families and their kids?  Damien : Ruby just jumped on. And I would love to ask her a question or two. When you talk about using the homes that are vacant now that their Reclaimers are in to help alleviate the ongoing crisis. You're talking about those homes becoming permanent housing for the people that are living in them now as opposed to being used as a place until something's built somewhere else. Fanny : Know that houses are there. It is much more economical for them to fix the homes than to build a new home. And I can say this from experience as a founding member of either Cammisa ComunitariTierra Libre, we acquired a building, and we are doing the rehab work. And it is much more economical and much cheaper. The homes are there. Why not take advantage and place the people that are in the streets and houses like the Reclaimer said, and the Reclaimers are leading this work? They should be the ones at the table, teaching the government how to create this pathway. Damien : So Ruby, can you hear me? I'm not sure what the technology issue is that we had. We had a few today which were new to me. But thanks for your patience. And thank you for joining us. So far we've gone through we discussed the the sort of the early days, and what people's experiences were like, right before and right after they moved in, we discussed the eviction notices that, that some people received recently, and we were discussing what the government's response should be to what's going on, as opposed to what it is they're actually doing. I was wondering if you could maybe in just a couple minutes, sort of just describe what your experience has been, since you moved into a Caltrans house, one of the 710 houses. What your experience has been in the house, but your experience has been with you're in the community with neighbors, and how the various agencies and cities and governments that have responded to you what it is you're doing? Ruby : Yeah, well, first off, thank you for having us. We really appreciate your support. I think it's definitely mixed emotions going back to the very beginning of it, we were living off the adrenaline of the day by day. And that consisted of CHP, harassing us. We were limited to how much we were able to be outdoors. Because of the uncertainty of whether we are going to be able to go back in. Community has been both supportive, and a challenge as well. I like to look at the brighter side of it, and just be very hopeful and optimistic. And just kill them with kindness. And so, I like to think of the neighbors that have been supportive that have offered their help, whatever  that they could support us.  I think the biggest thing is, like them speaking on ROH to other community members, and letting them know we're not trying to just squat these houses. We're noT  here to just occupy space, we want to create justice not only for El Sereno, but I think for housing in general. This is a global epidemic, really, at this point. As far as the different agencies, I was naive, maybe. I over-trusted. Like I said, I want to be hopeful. And I want to work in partnership, not only with the community, but with the agencies that are in decision making power. To not only  allow for us to be in these houses, but to create policies that are going to impact the community in a great way. I was very honest with the different agencies that we would work with. I explained to them my different needs that we have in my family, that I have personally. They pretend to listen, and they pretend to care. And it was just a farce. When they realized that they weren't going to be able to change our minds. They flipped: flipped the people, they flipped their attitudes, they flipped their message and put us to be the bad guy. Not just myself; but I've seen it with other people. I was very honest with PATH for example, and I told them how I have a great challenge with change. And if I sat here and told you my life story, I don't want to have to sit with your coworker tomorrow and tell them my life story. It's traumatic. It's not healthy to be living or reliving your negative experiences in your life. And, even though that was like the very first explicit thing that I said to them, they decided that was going to be the approach that they were going to have with me. And they called me on the phone, and they were like, “Oh, can you tell me your story?” What, what do you mean, can I tell you my story, you should have three years, and you should have a file with my name on it. And my entire story, because I have told people my story. It's a joke, don't call me and expect me to sit here and chat with you. I'm not trying to make friends. I don't want your pity, I want change. And I want you to keep your end of the deal. And their end of the deal was, this is going to be for the meantime. This is just so that we don't have to pull you out of those houses, while we figure out some permanent housing. And that was bullshit, you'll figure anything out. They're not trying to figure anything out. They bamboozled us. We were bamboozled into signing this, this contract that violated our rights on so many levels. And when we address these violations, they were like, "don't worry about it, like, we won't enforce that, we won't enforce this." But they always refused to make changes in writing. And they came to us with contracts that were not exclusive to this, this project or this group, these were contracts that they had already created for other purposes. And then they put them together and created something that would kind of fit what ROH was asking for. That was not what we were looking for. We want real change. We want permanent housing for all of us. We don't want to be here squatting. And as and as I heard Fanny's saying, we have the housing and I think that was like, my initial motivation for working on this project. Because, I had come to the awareness that we do have the housing. In 2019, we had three vacant housing units for every unhoused folk in Los Angeles. A lot of those are luxury apartments, a lot of those have most majority vacancies, and ones that are not vacant: the, the property owner or the tenant, they don't live there. They live out of state. They just want to have something or when they do come to LA. It's just nonsense to have all of this and for the 1% to continue to get away with this type of behavior and not paying their fair taxes on the housing that they already have acquired, which is stealing from us. They've developed these luxury buildings where housing for brown and black and other minorities was. They steal from us, and they continue to do it left and right. We've allowed it this far, and we're freaking tired of it. We're not gonna allow it anymore. We're gonna, we're gonna speak up, and we're gonna, we're gonna tell them everything that we have come to know, as a reality. We understand that it's not their reality with the salaries that they make, they're not struggling for housing, they're not struggling to eat. They're not struggling with their cars. We are. They thought that housing us for a few months was just going to solve our entire lives. That's completely wrong. They have helped us by allowing us to stay here temporarily. But that's not the solution to our life problems. That's not the solution to the housing crisis. Enough is enough. And I'm tired of the different elected politicians that supposedly represent us. I'm really irritated with Maria Elena Durazo. She's the image of, of what I once looked up to as an activist…as somebody that was standing up for, Damien : We've done a really good job of explaining people's stories, and demystifying some things for people that are just coming to the story about  your lives and what it is you're trying to do. Having you all here is a chance to sort of set the actual stakes. If this eviction notice goes've been living in these houses for three years. What happens to you if there is a plan B of some sort? Or would it, unfortunately, just be returning you back to the streets where you were on March 13 2020? Sandra : The point here is that we are building a campaign and it started when we took over the homes. Obviously, some of us have a lot of experience. Some of us don't know squat about politics, but we still know that we have the same need. We still need a toilet, a kitchen, we still need a community to have mental health. And what we have learned, throughout these years is that this is going to take a lot of work and it's been a lot of work. Now they gave us a three day notice after that. Whoever whatever party presented the lawsuit against an unlawful detainer, which is us. For me, we already have a team of lawyers. And we have had meetings about what the strategy is; where we are obviously going to discuss our lease...there's actually a lot of tactics and a lot of things that we want to bring up during this court. So we have, we have a team of lawyers, and for now we are waiting to go to court and actually have the information presented. We want to know that everything that the community has to say comes up and just have this opportunity because we're not going to go. We're not we're we plan to fight all the way to the end. We are also prepared with eviction defense, if it's going to go this far, as well. We've seen in the past how CHPs very aggressive. And so this is the last thing we want for our neighborhood.We don't need cops to be showing up. First, because it's expensive. Nobody needs that, like we are trying to invest in other places for the community. But in case, we need to talk about Plan B. For now, we haven't discussed Plan B. Because we know that every individual case is different and our needs may change. But we're definitely not going to go back to the streets. I do not plan to go back to my car. Now that I'm established, I gain custody of my kids and we have a place. We have stability. And so this, this cannot go back like we cannot go back to a space doesn't make sense. Marta : As Ruby said, I am also very hopeful. And I want to invite all these politicians and agencies to dream with us and to not adapt to a system that we obviously know is not only causing suffering, but causing a lot of work. It's just not working. So if we are all able to see that this is not sustainable, it's not working. We are human beings. We don't have to abide by this. We don't have to conform or adapt to something that's not working. We could create something better, something new. And it has to be the community on the table and having that control. We believe in nothing with us without us. We have to be a part of it. And as Sandra said, we're going to stay here. We also believe that when we fight, we win. And we want to stay here. We have the support. And we're also not alone. So we have the support of a lot of different groups, especially the El Sereno Community Land Trust where we're trying to build a co-op. If these houses don't come through, there's other options with the landlords that we could be able to still remain part of the community. We're still sticking to trying to keep these houses because we are part of the business community already. We're gonna keep fighting and we just really believe that people should not be punished and criminalized for being un-housed. That we need to create different ads that are more humane as human beings and that we can create together. Fanny : Listening to them. I also want to add about just because it's legal, it's the law, doesn't make it correct. So policy needs to be changed and implemented to decriminalize homeless folks in order to house them.  Benito : I think three things: it's possible that we are going to win in court. Many people say there is no possibility but the reason we have is we have very good attorneys. And there is some strategy and probably we're going to win depending on the jury. Because everything they do they're going is very guilty. The reason our jury is going to decide in our favor. This is one thing. The other thing is eviction  defense. We have a lot of people, a lot of volunteers, a lot of organizations who are going to stand up and in front of the horses to defend against the sheriff. So the sheriff is going to use force to threaten  the people. The sheriff is going to soon SWAT or something. And right now we have a different sheriff. And we are hopeful they're going to respect the people forming a wall to protect us. This is the second thing. The third thing, if everything fails, something is cooking. Something is cooking. Some activists are organizing the homeless apocalypse. The homeless apocalypse is as follows. There are three empty houses for every homeless person. So we are going to organize all the homeless. Select some homeless to go and take the empty houses in a very peaceful way. The police are coming and the police are coming. And they will want to be arrested and go to jail. And then other people come to take the houses again and again and again and again. This is what we're going to call the homeless apocalypse. And, there are two dates that are very important. August 23. and February 24. This August, adequate protection already ended, all people need to pay the rent. One year of rent that they need, they're going to pay on August 23. He they don't pay , they're going to be evicted. This is going to create what we call the homeless tsunami. The homeless tsunami then is another date. That is February 2024 is another homeless tsunami. There are a lot of homeless on the street. Like the apocalypse. This is gonna be the apocalypse. Ruby : I'm still  mentally in the same place that I was in 2019, early 2020 in the planning of reclaiming. I'm very hopeful. I'm very optimistic. I think being in this house for three plus years is already a victory in its own. But nevertheless, if things didn't go as we would like, I stand in the same place where you're going to have to take me out in handcuffs. Because I'm not, I'm not going to walk out on my own in this house. If all else fails, I'm not walking out here on my own. No. So even if we have to give into policing ; we've already seen Moms for Housing, they got evicted by SWAT, with violence, with militant force on Thanksgiving of 2020. We've seen that happen. And that's that, that's the least that I'm expecting for how they're going to have to take me out of here. Damien : All right, well, unless someone has something that they want to share, maybe something we hadn't talked about, I have plenty of material here to try and put together into a podcast over the next couple days. Hopefully, we will have it up and ready to go early next week. Does anyone have anything else? Or should I just be thanking you all so much for sharing such personal stories with me and with our audience? Fanny : I just wanted to add one last thing, that's a really good question. If there's a plan B. And honestly, there's no Plan B or C for the poor working class people, especially if you've been homeless, because we're technically continuously at risk of becoming homeless. Being that wages are stagnant, but everything is increasing, including the rents. And it's really difficult for us to even think about becoming homeowners. The community land trust model is a tool that gives us that opportunity for the working class people of color to become homeowners in a collective manner. And this is what it takes for homeless folks to get the attention that there is a housing crisis, which the government isn't taking responsibility for or being accountable for. If anything, all they do is put up their empty gates and prevent people from having access to public land, to public housing. And so this is a cry for that is like it needs to stop. Things need to shift. And the Reclaimers are here to lead that fight for the multiple millions of folks that are homeless. including myself, I'm at risk myself. I also am going to be fighting to keep my home because I haven't been able to pay the rent. So it's the story that echoes throughout the LA county, State of California and worldwide as Benito said, thank you. Benito : I agree with Franny, there is no plan B there is no plan B. What is the plan B? To get a job and buy a house? This is not a plan, it's impossible. But a Plan B to get a job and pay the rent. That is impossible. So there is no plan B. The only Plan A: fight, fight, fight to the last fight to the last. Damien : All right. Well, again, thank you all so much for sharing these stories with us incredibly personal. And I hope that as our audience listens to it and maybe gets the word out to other people. That is it helps people understand what's really going on here. And I do feel that there hasn't been as much reporting on what you all have been going through and what you've been experiencing what you're trying to do so I appreciate the trust and the faith and everyone sharing with me and if if no one has anything else I'm going to thank you all again thank you for your patience with me as we had some issues that getting set up today and I will make sure that you all have a chance to hear the final product one way or another. Thank you so much. All right, thank you