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Flamingo Hotel (Santa Monica, US) - November 1997

An old abandoned hotel has become the latest scene for the struggle of homeless people to use empty buildings. The Flamingo Motel in Santa Monica, USA is being occupied by more than 50 people who have declared it the Independant nation of Flamingo.

Santa Monica, in California is the richest state of the richest nation on earth but many people have nowhere to live, thanks to the result of property developers which have helped destroy low- income housing in the city.

The Flamingo Motel was one of the last places for transitional housing in the city for those who had become homeless, but was closed two years ago. As one resident put it: "The homeless activists, because of the failure of the government to provide assistance to needy citizens, have taken matters in to their own hands. The City of Santa Monica has, instead of responding to the problem, directed its police force to hound and harass homeless residents. They have made being poor and homeless a criminal offense." The police have arrested three people but widespread coverage has kept them at bay while the City Council decide to open cold weather shelters.

More info: http://www.radio4all.org

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