Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Where's Justiceville?

September 26 2009
The charity that developed the Dome Village desperately needs funding to keep its office space It is less than two years since the Dome Village (Issues 14 & 15), an innovative housing project in Los Angeles, was closed. Justiceville, the charity that developed it, is in "dire straits" and desperately needs funding to keep its office space. The Dome Village, founded in 1993 by homeless activist Ted Hayes, quickly became a successful self-governing community of former homeless. It consisted of 20 domes housing around 34 people. Each cost $10,000 and was funded by Arco, a subsidiary of oil giant BP. However, in August 2006, the residents had to be evicted after Justiceville refused to accept the landlord's request to increase the rent for the property. Mr Hayes had secured enough government funding by 1995 to run Dome Village; however, over the years, the rent for the village's site became increasingly expensive, rising from $2,500 to $18,000 a month towards the end. Eviction was inevitable, and those living in the village had to be housed in shelters, with Justiceville moving to an office in downtown Los Angeles. Now cash is running out for Justiceville, which has announced it is planning a series of fund-raising events "designed to initiate business-corporate funding and investment in our national and global plan" to end homelessness in downtown Los Angeles. The series is called 'The Renaissance Plan To End Homelessness'. A note by the charity explains that the funding events are part of the wider plan, called the 'Renaissance' movement, to redevelop downtown Los Angeles. Mr Hayes told The Pavement that Justiceville was already discuss- ing other funding possibilities with businesses in LA and is also meeting representatives of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to discuss its 'National Plan to End Homelessness'. Mr Hayes maintains that Dome Village was eventually evicted because of hostility towards him and his political stance. The funding for the village was secured with the support of Democrat personalities; but the relationship between the former benefactors and Mr Hayes, a proud Republican, slowly deteriorated. The owner of the property where Dome Village was developer is millionaire lawyer Milton Sidley, a well-known Democrat. According to Mr Hayes, one of the supporters of the project said they "liked the idea of the Dome Village but not the person behind it". Mr Hayes claims Democratic activists would rather have a government-subsidised homeless care industry because they better conforms to socialist-like ideas. Opposition towards the Dome Village also came from LA mayor Tom Bradley who, according to some reports, felt that Justiceville was a "political nuisance and liability". Mr Bradley threatened to close the Village at one point, and Mr Hayes fasted for 35 days in protest. As head of Justiceville, Mr Hayes has exposed Los Angeles' homelessness problem for many years. This has become an emergency in the city, as the number of people without a home reached almost 90,000 in 2005. After a string of negotiations, homeless people were allowed to sleep on the streets between 9pm and 9am without facing the risk of persecution by the police. Mr Hayes says the Dome Village proved to be "the best way to handle the problem" and claims that communities like it did not spread throughout the country because of the political strife that unfolded in Los Angeles. He says: "I can articulate clearly that the problems of homelessness are not due to a lack of resources for human beings, at least not in this country or city. It is a rather sinister concoction of political corruption, capitalistic greed of a few, the undermining antics of so-called homelessness activists, and the hopeless despair of the poor and homeless, and all of society in general."