By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A transitional housing program in Los Angeles has provided a safe place to call home for many who were lacking that security in the City of Angels.

“I feel really happy. I wish I can share my happiness with the 33,000 homeless people who are still living on the streets,” one recipient said.

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Hoping to take matters into their own hands, a group of unhoused Angelenos illegally started occupying vacant homes owned by CalTrans in El Sereno.

The move led to the creation of the group, Reclaiming Our Homes, which looks to create safe housing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization partnered with the city of Los Angeles to legalize the initiative they started, allowing 15 people who were once homeless to now have a roof over their heads.

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Recipients of these homes are either elderly residents or families, who fell on hard times, exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Unhoused people, a lot of us are working people,” said Martha Escudero. “We have jobs but the rent is too high and it’s not equitable, but we really all need to do a lot more to have housing for everybody.”

Across L.A. County and other parts of the state, tents for makeshift homes, portable restrooms and other indicators of the persistent housing crisis exist.

Some neighbors have spoken out against the presence of homeless people in their communities, in transitional housing or otherwise, attributing their stay to sanitary and safety concerns.

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The housing is provided to the residents with water, electricity and other bills subsidized by the City of  Los Angeles.