“The streets shouldn’t be their home. We have to be able to find a place where they have a home right now.”

luis acosta kensington
Luis Acosta, residente de Kensington y artista local, en una demostración organizada por la Asociación Cívica de Harrowgate (Harrowgate Civic Association) cerca de las avenidas Kensington y Allegheny el 8 de julio de 2020. (Foto por Solmaira Valerio).

Luis Acosta, community member and local artist

Editor’s note: The responses have been edited for clarity and conciseness. We tried to keep the majority of the points that were made, but some parts did need to be cut or rephrased. Phrases, such as “addicts” and “users”, were changed to “people experiencing addiction” and “people who use drugs” to follow Kensington Voice’s ethics of using person-first language.

Does the proposed Kensington Investment Plan represent the community’s current needs or priorities? Is there anything missing?

When you look at it, it looks very positive on paper. But problems in the area have existed for a few years now and it’s the worst it’s ever been. So you have to ask yourself, what is it that they’re actually doing? And will that plan actually work?

Do you agree or disagree with the proposals under the “public safety strategy and expanded access to treatment” section and the “community cleaning and sanitation” section? Thoughts?

I’ll comment on one that’s really clear: Reclaiming the intersection from an open-air drug market. Right now, what that means is that, as a local or as a visitor, you would have the notion or belief that there is some type of drug exchange going on. In reality, you see people injecting. You see people getting high on the street. You see drug trades happening, and police officers are taking zero steps. 

Under the “restorative community investment for safety and quality of life” section, which issues do you feel should receive priority funding?

I would prioritize safety in the corridor. There’s people who are deliberately choosing not to come because they don’t feel safe. How can they promote safety in the corridor? That’s for them to figure out. But, what they’re doing is not working right now.

Do you agree or disagree that adding a fully-staffed police district or Police Service Area (PSA) will help police officers respond to underserved parts of Kensington?

No comment.

Editor’s note: The status of the proposed Kensington Police Special Services District is mentioned in the city’s Restore Kensington Action Plan. You can read more about that here.

What should be a part of the city’s treatment options to aid people experiencing addiction?

I’m not an expert in this area, but some people whom I know closely are connected to people who have gone through recovery. The first step is to establish some form of stability for them and some type of home. The streets shouldn’t be their home. And that’s the issue. We have to be able to find a place where they have a home right now.


Editors: Zari Tarzona, Claire Wolters, Siani Colón / Designer: Henry Savage / Translator: Somlmaira Valerio

What did you think about this story? Send a note to editors@kensingtonvoice.com, and we’ll consider publishing it in our Voices section. You can also tell us what you think in person at our neighborhood events.

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