Homeless Activists Call for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to Use Emergency Powers

May 4, 2020

Not long after L.A. County reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, Davon Brown decided he was done putting himself at risk.

He went to The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles. Joined by activists with Street Watch L.A., he told hotel staff that they were interested in renting several rooms, the concierge happily obliged, he said and took the group to room 2221.

Brown then revealed his plan: “I’m homeless in Echo Park and I’m not leaving this hotel.” Brown, who was later arrested and released, told The Times, “if I stayed outside, I could die.”

The protest — the latest of several increasingly defiant demonstrations over housing and rent during the pandemic — comes as homeless activists have stepped up their calls for Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Board of Supervisors to use their emergency powers to seize hotels and motels.

“If you can tell the entire city of Los Angeles that we can shelter in place, then you can tell the hotels they are commandeered and they need to open their doors to the residents of skid row,” said Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles attorney Shayla Myers.

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