LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On March 24, 2022, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) obtained a temporary restraining order against Karla Leiva, a former employee who’s been a disruptive and threatening presence at AHF’s residential properties for low-income and formerly unhoused residents. According to the order, Leiva cannot “harass, molest, strike, assault, batter, abuse, destroy personal property of, or disturb the peace of the person.” She can also not “commit acts of violence or make threats of violence,” and Levia can’t “follow or stalk” during work hours.
Last year, Leiva was fired by AHF for falsifying a disability claim and violating the organization’s employee policies. Since then, she has worked to interfere with AHF’s mission by threatening and intimidating her former co-workers, preventing them from providing needed housing services at AHF’s properties. The temporary restraining order allows the organization’s staff members to work without fear and spend more time and energy on carrying out their lifesaving work to house the vulnerable.
In 2017, AIDS Healthcare Foundation established a housing provider division, Healthy Housing Foundation, and a housing advocacy division, Housing Is A Human Right. Based in Los Angeles, AHF saw that the housing affordability and homelessness crises were turning into humanitarian and public health catastrophes – and were impacting AHF clients. Known for urgently addressing such disasters, AHF decided to provide low-income and homeless housing through the adaptive reuse of old hotels and motels in the L.A. area. Healthy Housing Foundation manages the properties.
AHF’s housing work has been an outstanding success. While the city of L.A. struggled to build homeless housing, AHF and HHF spent more than $130 million to produce nearly over 1,400 units of low-income and homeless housing in four years at such Downtown L.A. hotels as the King Edward, the Baltimore, and the Madison. AHF will also construct thousands more units in the near future.
For its work, AHF uses the “housing first” model, which focuses on quickly moving people off the streets and into housing. Its way of operating has wide support from top homelessness organizations and elected officials. Then Karla Leiva was hired by AHF’s Healthy Housing Foundation.
The restraining order was obtained after several incidents where Leiva disrupted AHF events, including a confrontation with Healthy Housing Foundation staff, trespassing into AHF’s Madison Hotel against visitation rules she knew about, attempting to disrupt an AHF groundbreaking ceremony in January 2022, which unveiled the organization’s multi-million-dollar plan to construct the Renaissance Center, a new building that will provide 216 housing units to lower-income and unhoused residents. Leiva led a protest with a small group of people and attempted to drown out the ceremony by using a megaphone to shout profanity and insults at an AHF staff member and Healthy Housing Foundation.
Most recently, Leiva and a group of protesters entered a Jewish synagogue in the San Fernando Valley on March 21, where a Los Angeles mayoral candidate forum was taking place. With no respect for the house of worship and its members, the protesters were “screaming profanities at the candidates and organizers,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
For more than three decades, AHF has tenaciously carried out its mission of providing “cutting-edge medicine and advocacy regardless of ability.” As a result, the organization has been targeted by politicians, governments, and corporations, and criticism, unfortunately, is a part of the work. Leiva is just another gadfly in a long line of AHF critics.
However, when words are replaced by disturbing conduct that targets AHF employees, the organization will protect them so they can work in peace and without fear of harassment. The temporary restraining order against Karla Leiva is an important step to protect AHF’s hard-working staff, who are saving lives every single day.
To learn more, read our special report: “Why Are Barbara Schultz, Karla Leiva, and Ernest Cornish Attacking AIDS Healthcare Foundation?”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.7 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcareand Instagram: @aidshealthcare.
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF
+1.323.791.5526 [cell] [email protected]
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