Blueprint For the Future

Unhoused Tenant Organizing in Los Angeles

After Echo Park Lake Research Collective

Published in Issue 4.1 // Updates

Keywords: Organized encampment, eviction, homelessness, unhoused tenants, state repression


During the Covid-19 pandemic, an organized encampment at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles built community infrastructure that articulated a clear vision of a world built on class solidarity. But the success of the community also made it a threat to the racial capitalist order, and in March of 2021, the city deployed hundreds of riot police to mass evict the encampment and fence the park. This strategy became a blueprint for displacement replicated across the city, one in which services were conjoined to enforcement. But those who organized at Echo Park Lake continued the fight, creating their own blueprint for the ongoing fight for housing liberation.

The After Echo Park Lake research collective is based at the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy and brings together university and movement-based scholars with unhoused comrades to study displacement in Los Angeles. We analyze and challenge systems of housing insecurity and scrutinize the investment of public resources in the criminalization of poverty and in carceral housing. Our research is a counterpoint to racial banishment and seeks to advance housing justice in Los Angeles and worldwide. Collective members include Ashley Bennett, Jennifer Blake, Jonny Coleman, Hannah Cornfield, La Donna Harrell, Terrie Klein, Sam Lutzker, Hilary Malson, Jessica Mendez, Carla Orendorff, Gustavo Otzoy, Annie Powers, Chloe Rosenstock, Ananya Roy, Rayne Laborde Ruiz, and William Sens, Jr.

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