For Marie Claire Magazine, Fuller Project contributor Colleen Hagerty reported on homeless and housing insecure moms struggling to find safe places to shelter their families during the coronavirus crisis.
Hagerty featured a homeless mother, Martha Escudero, who along with her two daughters was looking for shelter in Los Angeles while advocating for abandoned properties to be used to house families.
Escudero is part of “Reclaiming Our Homes,” a group that demanded California Governor Gavin Newsom open up all vacant properties in the state for occupancy during the initial coronavirus outbreak. She called it “immoral” for so many houses to sit empty as thousands are on the streets during a public health crisis. “If the government’s not doing their job and finding solutions fast enough, then we need to take the steps and sometimes break their laws,” she said.
Following this reporting, activists successfully negotiated with the city to use vacant properties. Escudero and her two daughters moved into a blue bungalow in El Sereno, one of more than 100 vacant, state-owned properties in East Los Angeles. Since she and other “Reclaimers” have cultivated a community garden, a community maintenance team and community storage space, according to Reclaiming Our Homes.