Holding pink balloons, dozens of protesters gathered across the street from the downtown site of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast early Saturday to urge the city to provide emergency shelter for 1,000 homeless women in the next six months.
The protest, part of what organizers are calling the “She Does” movement, intensified growing pressure on local officials to clear the street encampments that have overtaken the city while a 10-year, $4.6-billion homeless housing and supportive services program slowly unfolds. Several councilmen have also called for large-scale shelter expansion.
But Mayor Eric Garcetti did not attend the annual breakfast for the second year in a row. He was slated to speak Saturday morning at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego.
According to the 2017 homeless count, 11,000 women in Los Angeles County live in the streets without shelter, including nearly 7,000 in the city. Mel Tillekeratne, a volunteer for Monday Night Mission, which provides food for the homeless on skid row, said women in tents are being sexually assaulted and forced into prostitution by gang members while the city sleeps.
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