Pete Buttigieg visited a homeless shelter in Watts, Los Angeles on Friday (January 10), however, he was received by more than residents and staff of the facility.
Greeted warmly by A Bridge Home project, many of whom were Black, Buttigieg heard stories of struggle in South L.A. Right outside of the facility there were about a dozen Black Lives Matters protesters loudly describing the South Bend Mayor as “anti-Black and anti-poor” over his record as the top executive in the Indiana city.
According to the Los Angeles Times, three of the BLM demonstrators outside of the shelter said they traveled from South Bend to Watts to protest Mayor Pete. They say they’re particularly outraged at Buttigieg’s handling of South Bend’s homelessness problem and the recent death of 44-year-old Anthony Young, who, according to local news outlets, died of hypothermia in downtown in mid-December.
“We haven’t seen Mayor Pete in a while. I’m surprised he’s here at a shelter [in Los Angeles] and not in South Bend at a shelter. We miss his face,” Kahmiil Middleton, 22, of South Bend told the Times. “We understand that he’s campaigning, but when you’re mayor, you have a job to do. He did not make that his priority.”
Buttigieg claimed there was more to the story surrounding Young and told reporters at the homeless shelter that the man had died “after declining to come into a shelter.”
“Perhaps you’ve had the experience of asking somebody to come in and they’ve not been willing or able to do it,” he said, adding to shelter staff standing by that it could be for reasons of battling addiction or not being able to bring a pet into a shelter.
Most at the Watts homeless shelter were delighted by Buttigieg’s presence and say he listened to their concerns.
“For him to even take the time out [to visit]…. If he becomes president, could you imagine? What he could do if he really listened?” said LaVerne Green, a shelter resident and former nurse, to the L.A. Times. “I wish people could see me as LaVerne Green again,” relaying that she had become homeless over the past year.
Middleton says he vows to continue the protests against Buttigieg: “Wherever he goes, we’ll go, because we don’t want to be forgotten.”
Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images