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Morning Brief: Encampment Sweeps, Tutoring Younger Siblings, And Knafeh In LA

A homeless encampment under a freeway bridge has several tents and makeshift living quarters.
A homeless encampment under a freeway bridge in Joe Buscaino's City Council District 15.
(Ethan Ward
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Jan. 26.

The health of L.A.’s unhoused community has been at the forefront activists' minds during the pandemic. Folks without homes have no place to isolate or quarantine, and are much more likely to be exposed to the virus.

In recent weeks, those concerns have ramped up as omicron outbreaks in shelters have forced quarantines that freeze out new entries. With that temporary housing unavailable, advocates are calling on the city to stop enforcing sweeps of homeless encampments. 

“Facilities are either at capacity or they're under quarantine so they can't accept new residents,” said John Maceri, CEO of The People Concern. Housing from other options like Project Roomkey are hard to come by as well, he added, noting that “most of those are full or in the process of de-mobilizing.”

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Maceri was one of a number of activists who wrote a letter to the city, asking them to leave encampments alone for now.

Mayor Eric Garcetti acknowledged the problem, but stopped short of promising to end sweeps. 

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"When we don’t have places for people to go safely into housing, that’s not a time when you can ask people to get off the streets,” he said. “But I won’t stop — even in the midst of the pandemic — when we do have housing, to really do aggressive outreach to let people know that they don’t have to die on the streets, they don’t have to suffer on the streets, they don’t have to stay on the streets."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

  • L.A. County’s Board of Supervisors voted to extend countywide eviction protections through the end of this year.
  • L.A. officials launched a program that offers to pay up to 1,000 low-income high school students to tutor their younger siblings or relatives who live with them.
  • The Santa Ana winds are kicking up again, but not with the ferocity that we saw last week. 
  • The Board of Supervisors wants to hear from young people about their biggest mental health stressors.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state officials announced a deal that, if passed, would require businesses to provide additional COVID-19 paid sick leave, beginning retroactively on Jan. 1.
  • Starting in 2024, U.S. students will take the SAT entirely online.

Before You Go ... Where To Get Sweet, Cheesy Knafeh In LA

Knafeh from Los Angeles restaurant Jaffa. (Photo by Nicole Iizuka)

Knafeh is a sweet and gooey dessert made of flaky dough and soft cheese, topped with rosewater or orange blossom syrup and crushed pistachios. The Middle Eastern classic traces its creation to sometime between the 10th and 15th centuries, and a variety of delicious takes on it are available right here in SoCal.

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