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Poverty Tour

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While the television press corps stormed town for the Winter TV Press Tour and the Golden Globes, another type of press convocation also transpired earlier this month.

The Catholic News reports on the poverty tour of Los Angeles taken by religious writers on January 11th.

As part of the annual observance of Poverty in America Awareness Month, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty program, sponsored the tour.

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The tour revealed a new side of Los Angeles.

The next stop was 463 South Bixel Street, where Oscar A. Santos led visitors inside the small single-room-occupancy apartment where he, his wife and their 11-month-old daughter, Genesis, live. Their bed, on which the baby played, took up most of the single room. A closet-sized space served as a kitchen, with a steel sink, refrigerator and two-burner gas hot plate wedged in. The bathroom, on the opposite side of the room, had standing water on the floor.

Santos said his bathroom -- and the whole apartment -- was much worse before the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, got involved. In fact, only four bathrooms in the building's 37 apartments worked at all. He displayed old photos of gaping holes in walls, exposed pipes and rotting wood doorways.

"We needed a new bathroom, but the owner said no way," the 45-year-old unemployed furniture worker reported. "If you think the apartment looks bad now, it was in terrible shape before ACORN started to help us tenants organize to fight the landlord."