Fed up with the homeless situation in Los Angeles, Kaleb Havens lived chained to a fence on Skid Row between Ash Wednesday in February and Easter last Sunday — a total of 46 days. For 36 of those days, the 30-year-old activist with the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, went on a hunger strike for Lent.
Havens’s act is another symbol of the failure of city, county, and state leaders to effectively address the housing crisis. Los Angeles has more people living in the streets and shelters than any city in the United States, surging 75 percent in the past six years.
Havens chose the 40-day period preceding Easter — a season associated with sacrifice and reflection inspired by Jesus Christ’s withdrawal into the desert — to draw attention to the plight of the homeless in L.A.
“This is the time of year we choose to find compassionate ways to live,” he said.
In this part of L.A., tents and tarps covered every inch of sidewalk down the block, leaving passersby little choice but to walk in the street. The activist’s campsite blended in with the dozens more that crowd the sidewalk of this bleak industrial block of downtown, besides the protest signs with large hand-painted letters that proclaim “46 Day Housing and Hunger Strike” and “Houses Not Handcuffs.”