In what can only be described as ironic, the city of Los Angeles tore down a homeless man’s dwelling. This despite the fact that the compound built by the man was even earningthat man rent, and had gained nearly 2 million views on social media.
Ceola Waddell Jr, 59 years old, has been homeless off-and-on since he was just 14-years old. In a feature in the Los Angeles Times, he explains that he got involved in gambling at an early age, eventually graduating to alcohol and drugs. Despite this, he had enjoyed a period of more than 10 years where he was not homeless, living with a girlfriend. However, when his girlfriend died, the reduced income was not enough to keep him in a normal home.
About six months ago, Wadell made his way to the underpass on highway 110 in Los Angeles. In that time, he build a compound with a living room sofa and love seat, a porcelain toilet, and zebra-print slipcovers. According to the feature article, the compound was spacious enough that Waddell was able to rent out a space in it for $25 a week.
Despite his efforts, and sudden fame, the city of Los Angeles tore down the compound, not once but now two times. According to comments made by a city spokeswoman,“There’s been a great deal of public safety and public health concern from neighbors in the area, as well as LAPD and the Sanitation Department”. Bureau of Sanitation spokeswoman Elena Sturn expanded upon that saying that recently workers removed a refrigerator with an “abundance of rotting food,” “explosive materials” and other items.
Mr. Waddell was not deterred, spending time scouring for unwanted items and largely rebuilding the compound the city had just torn down. This time it included such amenities as ceramic planters, paper orchids, a surfboard, and a hot dog stand.
It remains to be seen if the city will again tear down the dwelling, or come to some arrangement for more traditional housing. In comments to KABC-TV in Los Angeles, Waddell says for now he’s making ends meet from donations, and hoping to find more permanent housing.