This week the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released its 2017 Homeless Count results. The numbers are heartbreaking: an estimated 58,000 people are now homeless in Los Angeles County, a 23% increase from 2016.
Only hours later we celebrated the grand opening of the Trust’s newest property, Crest Apartments. 64 formerly homeless individuals with high health needs – 23 of whom are military veterans – now call Crest Apartments home. The Crest residents are among 14,000 homeless individuals housed throughout Los Angeles County last year.
Rising housing costs and stagnant wages across the County mean that many of our friends, family members, and neighbors are one crisis away from living on the street. We will not end homelessness until this economic crisis is addressed.
And yet I have hope for Los Angeles. Alongside our partners, Skid Row Housing Trust is ready to fight this extraordinary crisis. We have a pipeline of over 500 permanent supportive housing units in predevelopment – many of which are funded through the first round of Prop HHH bond measure funding made available by the City of Los Angeles. We are ensuring that our residents have access to the care and support they need to remain stably housed, and expect to take full advantage of more robust supportive programs that will be supported by Measure H and Whole Person Care in the years to come.
What can you do? Be an advocate for affordable housing and permanent supportive housing in your community. We need to create housing wherever homelessness is happening in Los Angeles – and it is happening everywhere. Elected officials and neighborhood representatives need to hear that you would welcome more housing options in your backyard.
Our work is not possible without your support. Donate now or set up your own fundraising campaign for Skid Row Housing Trust at skidrow.org/we-end-homelessness. Every dollar helps us provide stable homes that are the foundation of a healthy and fulfilling life.
CEO, Skid Row Housing Trust
In partnership with Central City Association (CCA), the Trust hosted a Community Exchange Day on Friday, April 21st at the Star Apartments. CCA members and Trust residents participated in a myriad of activities together, including meditation, gardening, and pickleball. Piece by Piece held mosaic workshops, and L.A. Kitchen‘s culinary job training students made everyone lunch. The day gave CCA members insight into proven strategies that address homelessness, like permanent supportive housing, and demonstrated the array of supportive programs that help residents heal and build a sustainable life.
Addressing homelessness is one of CCA’s top priorities, and the exchange day is part of a larger campaign to connect CCA members to programs that serve the community. “Participating in the CCA event at Star Apartments was an incredible experience. The level of expertise in the individuals leading the workshops and the end game of empowering formerly homeless individuals was inspiring,” commented Sara Soudani of Commonwealth Land Title. “I enjoyed being a part of the Piece by Piece art workshop and appreciated learning that low-income individuals can enroll in classes at no charge and then have their work displayed in art galleries.”
Next City: When Bluebonnet Studios opened in Austin last month, all 107 apartments filled quickly. There’s already a waitlist of over 900 low-income Austinites hoping for a spot in the rent-restricted development.
With the final votes tallied, Measure H has officially passed, thanks to the support of a broad coalition from across Los Angeles County. This diverse group of businesses, labor organizations, nonprofits, advocates, and elected officials also helped pass Measure HHH in the City of Los Angeles with an overwhelming 76% of the vote in November. Both measures required a 2/3 majority to pass, a massive endeavor that required the coordination of activists and organizations throughout the county to conduct voter outreach and education. Our efforts paid off!
Thanks to the generosity and vision of the community, Measure HHH and Measure H will collectively result in the largest commitment of resources by voters anywhere in the country – possibly ever – to locally prevent and end homelessness. Measure HHH authorized $1.2 billion in bonds to pay for the construction of 10,000 new homes. And now, Los Angeles County’s Measure H will generate $350 million a year for services that will help people access and stay in stable housing.
These historic votes are testament to the work that the Trust and its partners have done for so many years to develop, support, and promote effective programs. The Trust proved that permanent supportive housing works, and affirmed that we can end homelessness by meaningfully investing in evidence-based solutions. These election results show that voters want to live in a community that cares for its neighbors. A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who voted for a stronger, healthier Los Angeles.
Our work has just begun.
CEO, Skid Row Housing Trust
LA Times Editorial Board: It ’s frustrating to watch homeless people living on the streets, as if they were stray animals that no one knew what to do with. Our visceral responses range from “How can I help them?” to “How can I get them to go away?”
Yesterday at Skid Row Housing Trust’s Crest Apartments, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Chair Wendy Gruel, and a coalition of business leaders, veterans, and homeless service organizations urged voters to support Measure H on March 7th. Check out the live stream on Facebook! This ballot measure would create funding dedicated to supportive services that are proven to end and prevent homelessness, including outreach, health care, substance abuse recovery, housing support, and job training. While a home is the first step to ending homelessness, supportive services are essential for helping people get off the street and remain stably housed.
The rally was the first public event to take place at the Trust’s new Crest Apartments, which transformed an open lot into 63 homes for veterans and disabled individuals who have experienced homelessness. It is located in the San Fernando Valley, where the number of people experiencing homelessness grew by 35% last year. Measure H will help people across Los Angeles County, including women and children, veterans, and those with mental illness get the support they need and break the cycle of homelessness. It will help house 45,000 families and individuals within five years, and prevent homelessness for 30,000 families and individuals over the same period.
We asked Mayor Garcetti to write some postcards at the rally to help get out the vote. If you are interested in educating the public about Measure H, volunteer to phone bank from home and show your support on social media. Measure H is an important part of a county-wide effort to combat homelessness. It is an opportunity to define the type of community we want to live in and pass on to our children.
CEO, Skid Row Housing Trust
The Architect’s Newspaper: The San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles has a reputation as a quintessentially suburban enclave. But, as the inner-city areas of Los Angeles have begun to embrace the hallmarks of traditional urbanism—increased housing density, fixed-transit infrastructure, and a dedication to pedestrian space—the valley has found itself parroting those same shifts in its own distinct way.
KQED: President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, retired surgeon Ben Carson, has no experience in housing or homeless services. He’s never held elected office or a government job.
USC News: Project will explore ways to reduce the gap between the needs of L.A.’s chronically homeless and existing housing and support service options