A section of Los Angeles’ Echo Park is now closed off to the public, after police raided and destroyed a long-standing community of encampments. Across the country, encampments are spreading as housing insecurity booms, in part because of the pandemic.

Even before COVID, the unhousing crisis was affecting low-income people across the country and Latinos were less-likely to be able to pay rent.  COVID has made disparities worse, in part because of long-standing gentrification in communities across the country.

In New York’s Sunset Park, costs of housing are becoming unaffordable to the immigrant families that have lived there for decades. Same goes for Chicago’s Mexican enclave, Pilsen, and Austin’s Chicano neighborhoods. While houselessness increases, so have mutual aid networks...

The housed and unhoused people of Echo Park created a mutual aid network, with a garden and job program. Ayman Ahmed was an unhoused resident at Echo Park and having found a sense of community support, he said, “It’s been so refreshing to live like a normal citizen again.”