Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


After Thanksgiving Removals, Activists Vow To Continue Fight To ‘Reclaim’ Vacant Homes

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Over the past two days, dozens of activists occupied state-owned vacant houses in L.A.’s El Sereno neighborhood, saying they should be given to people without homes. CHP officers forcibly removed them, arresting more than 60 people.

The homes are among 460 the California Department of Transportation bought in decades past as part of the effort to connect the 710 freeway to the 210 in Pasadena. That plan collapsed; the state subsequently sold or leased most of the properties, but 163 remain empty.

The group Reclaim and Rebuild Our Community began occupying some of them on Wednesday.

“It's a crime to have houses sitting empty, when so many people are out on the streets,” said Iris De Anda, one of the occupiers.

Support for LAist comes from

The activists want Caltrans to transfer ownership of the vacant properties to the El Sereno Land Trust, which they say will ensure they’re used for the unhoused.

Caltrans said the activists had to be removed because the homes are unsafe. It said it’s been working to lease several homes as temporary shelters, and recently signed a lease with the city of L.A. to use 22 of them as transitional housing.

The agency said it’s working to sell the remaining homes, and is committed to making sure they’re used for affordable housing.

Organizers involved with the "reclaiming" effort are calling on the authorities to drop all charges against those arrested for occupying vacant homes.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.