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Homeless man builds a compound

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Homeless man builds a compound

Post by Admin on Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:03 am


Ceola Waddell Jr. has what may be the most eye-popping digs of any homeless man in Los Angeles.

A video tour of his living room sofa and love seat, porcelain toilet and zebra-skin slipcovers has been viewed 1.4 million times on Facebook. His fans make pilgrimages to the tent-lined strip beneath the 110 Freeway near the Coliseum - he calls it "Paradise Lane" - to chortle and take selfies.

His quarters are so spacious that another homeless man is paying him $25 a week to rent a tent, sandwiched between the "guest room" and a third mattress and headboard. Waddell, who also goes by Mr. Dice, calls it his "Airbnb."

"I was walking by and I saw the little sign, 'For rent,' " said the tenant, Anthony Garcia, 39.

But what delights Waddell's followers does not sit well with the city, whose sanitation crews have twice dismantled and carted off his handiwork. Last week, workers removed a refrigerator with an "abundance of rotting food," "explosive materials" and other unhealthy items, said Bureau of Sanitation spokeswoman Elena Stern.

Two days later, Waddell had scavenged neighborhood castoffs and rebuilt most of the setup, with flourishes that include ceramic planters with paper orchids, a surfboard and a hot dog stand.

"I refuse to let the city beat me down to what they think a homeless person's profile is, living on cardboard," said Waddell, 59. "This should be a landmark."

Waddell's standoff with the city comes a year after elected leaders called for a state of emergency to be declared over homelessness, with the encampments that stirred political passions still standing in many neighborhoods.

Homelessness plans released in February by the city and county spurred voter approval this month of a $1.2-billion bond issue to fund new homeless housing. But the construction will take 10 years, and housing homeless people in the meantime is moving slowly.

Sanitation crews receive 100 to 200 reports of encampments a week, and the numbers keep growing.

"Our main priority always is to get unsheltered homeless individuals off the streets and into housing," said Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority spokesman Tom Waldman.

Mayor Eric Garcetti's spokeswoman, Connie Llanos, said, "We know that none of these strategies will solve our homelessness crisis overnight, but Mayor Garcetti is committed to ensuring that the crisis is solved as quickly as possible."



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