LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Advocates this weekend slept along the sidewalk outside of City Hall in solidarity with the thousands of homeless women across LA County.
About 200 people joined the effort Saturday night with 85 tents set up as part of the “#She Does” movement, which is working to promote the rapid sheltering of un-sheltered and unprotected women.
“It was important because on April 19th, the city of LA is going to propose its budget for the next fiscal year,” said Mel Tillekeratne, an organizer. “We’re asking for $20 million to shelter 1,000 women by August 1st.”
Tillekeratne says of the 200 that showed up Saturday, nearly half stayed overnight in front of City Hall.
“In one way, it is supposed to show a visual of how LA will look like unless homelessness is addressed,” said Tillekeratne. “On the other way, it was to give people an idea of what it means to be homeless.”
Tillekeratne said for domestic violence victims, going to a shelter may not provide immediate relief.
“They’re going to tell you they have a 3-6 week wait,” he said. “Either they sleep on the street, or they endure the domestic violence for 3-6 weeks.”
“When you can save 1,000 women from being raped on the streets, it is a drop in the bucket,” Tillekeratne added.
Sunday morning, CBS2’s Joy Benedict said activists held photos of many of the homeless women aloft.
Many of the activists said key to their mission is getting more space for shelters.
“Just having the separate space is so important to feel the safety to get the help you need and definitely deserve,” said Bobbie Jo Stuff, a protester who said she was once herself homeless.
For those who camped out, it was nothing like camping.
“It was pretty brutal,” said Paul Avila, “My back’s in pain, it was cold and loud. I can only imagine what our homeless friends went through.”