Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

May 6, 1985: Ted Hayes on the telephone at the entrance to his shelter at Justiceville, a homeless encampment in downtown Los Angeles. This photo was published in the May 7, 1985 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

May 6, 1985: Two residents of Justiceville chat at the shantytown in downtown Los Angeles. This photo was published in the May 7, 1985 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

May 10, 1985: Residents of Justiceville move out to avoid arrest.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

May 10, 1985: A Los Angeles police officer guards the former children's playground at 6th Street and Gladys Avenue that was home to more than 60 street people. Twelve were arrested for disobeying orders to leave the skid row site known as Justiceville.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

May 10, 1985: LAPD Capt. Bill Wedgeworth, right, supervises arrests at skid row's Justiceville. Sitting at left, with his head in his hands, is Ted Hayes, the organizer of the shantytown settlement.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

May 10, 1985: Justiceville organizer Ted Hayes, left, is escorted to a police van after being arrested for failing to leave following delivery of an eviction notice.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

July 24, 1985: Remnants of Justiceville on a sidewalk near the site in downtown Los Angeles. Justiceville was closed in May 1985.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

July 24, 1985: Justiceville before it was bulldozed by city crews.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

May 13, 1985: Pets stick close as Barbara Whittington, left, and her daughter, Deirdre, right, from Chicago, try to persuade Helen Oliver to give up her life on the streets in Los Angeles. Oliver, who had been evicted from the shantytown known as Justiceville, and Barbara Whittington are cousins.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

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Justiceville is closed

In the spring of 1985, a homeless encampment known as Justiceville sprang up in a children’s playground at 6th Street and Gladys Avenue.

Staff writer Janet Clayton reported in the May 7, 1985 Los Angeles Times:

It is called Justiceville, a ragtag compilation of plywood, cardboard, tattered blankets, old tires, discarded drapes and about 60 homeless people.

Ted Hayes, who organized the place and gave it its name, said the makeshift dwellings at 6th Street and Gladys Avenue in downtown Los Angeles allow homeless people to take care of themselves, and he has challenged government officials to work with him to come up with a better plan.

But living conditions at the former children’s playground site have become so abysmal that even some advocates for the homeless question whether officials should allow it to exist.

The city attorney’s office will hold a hearing today to determine what to do about the scores of people who make Justiceville their home, in apparent violation of health, building and safety, zoning, and fire codes.

“I look out and see people living in shacks and I feel like I’m on the set of ‘The Grapes of Wrath,'” said Catherine Morris of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker agency next door that provides meals to the homeless of Skid Row. “It is neither safe, nor decent, nor sanitary.”

Three days later, on May 10, 1985, LAPD officers issued eviction orders. Most residents left, but 12, including Hayes, were arrested.

Clayton’s full story, City Studies Conditions at Shelter Site for Homeless, is online.

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