Open Collective
Open Collective
2022 End of Year Update
Published on December 22, 2022 by Kris R

For the past few years, we operated as a local chapter of an organization called Street Watch LA until it disbanded in August 2022. Many Street Watch locals, including ours, decided to continue our work as independent, locally-based orgs and find new fiscal sponsors. During the transition to our new, independent organization, we experienced periods where we didn’t have funds or connections for necessities like hygiene or harm reduction supplies. We also struggled with sustaining membership which, in mutual aid work, isn’t an unfamiliar challenge. However, we’ve worked to address these challenges and thankfully have expanded our ranks, our number of donors, and connected with new partner orgs to help sustain the items requested by unhoused neighbors. Our future is bright! We’ve since adapted and grown significantly, finding inspiration from skill sharing and educational initiatives, covering topics like organizational structure, mutual aid principles, harm reduction, and more. This commitment to growth has strengthened our community and made us better organizers as we continue checking in with unhoused neighbors, distributing survival items, connecting folks with resources, and defending them/their belongings against displacement and destruction by the City. 

Every week, we meet up near a recycling center where we split up the 110-175 meals prepared by our partner organizations, Hollywood Food Coalition and Home-y Made Meals. Depending on donation levels, we also distribute hygiene and harm reduction kits, tents, and more. On our neighborhood routes, we check in with encampment residents about conditions, re: state harassment/violence, displacement, and other needs. We’ve also worked to pressure progressive City Councilmembers like Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martinez into ending violent sweeps in their districts.

Since our operation was growing increasingly independent from Street Watch during its final months, we feel our transformation has allowed us to build community and center the needs of our unhoused neighbors while worrying less about financial support. Items we purchase with donated funds include: tents, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags, hand warmers, hygiene items (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste, wipes, soap, shampoo, menstrual products), high-priority clothing items (e.g., socks, underwear), shoes, first aid, medicine, and pet supplies. These items are procured with both monetary donations through Open Collective and direct donations from our Amazon wishlist. We also use funds to support unhoused neighbors by assisting with expenses such as temporary shelter in motels for people experiencing domestic violence, transportation, assitance with parking tickets, and veterinary and medical care.

In 2023, we plan to continue our work while ramping up intiatives like donation drives, mapping areas in our neighborhoods more precisely to expand outreach, and working to better defend against sweeps on a more consistent basis. We look forward to further growing our membership through mediums like social media and community events in the new year while deepening our bonds with partner organizations and connecting with both housed and unhoused neighbors. We also plan to hold local politicians accountable for promises made during this year’s elections to end sweeps and connect unhoused folks to resources and, most importantly, permanent, supportive, non-carceral housing. We appreciate all of the inspiring community support received over 2022 and look forward to standing with you in solidarity in the new year!