Piece by Piece, a partner of Skid Row Housing Trust, is featured in the Los Angeles Times to demonstrate the impact of funding for the arts. Piece by Piece offers low-income and formerly homeless individuals free mosaic art workshops that develop soft skills, build self-confidence, and create opportunities to earn income.
Having struggled with mental illness her entire life, Evelyn was homeless on and off for 20 years. She occasionally found employment during periods of wellness, only to lose her job again during an episode of illness. When living on the street, Evelyn isolated herself from her adult children so that she wouldn’t burden them with her difficult struggle to survive. “Mental illness can be invisible because you look fine,” said Evelyn. “People can’t see how sick you really are.”
Evelyn was referred to Skid Row Housing Trust’s permanent supportive housing a year and a half ago. Not only does Evelyn now have a safe and stable home, but also a team of onsite staff that work collaboratively to help her address the underlying mental health conditions that led to her being homeless. “If the property manager at my building doesn’t see me for a day, she notices,” said Evelyn. “She’ll stop by my apartment or check-in with my case manager. Everyone is watching out for me.”
For the first few months after she moved into permanent supportive housing, Evelyn rarely left her home because she didn’t trust that it would be there when she returned. Now Evelyn participates in support groups, spends time with her children and grandchildren, and volunteers twice a week at an outreach center for women that helped her while she was homeless.
Your donation will help Skid Row Housing Trust create more homes for men and women experiencing homelessness and increase the supportive services that help residents like Evelyn heal, reconnect, and succeed. By 2020, the Trust will build or renovate 1,200 homes in Los Angeles, and all of them will have on-site staff and programs that help our residents break the cycle of homelessness. We are sincerely grateful for your continued generosity and encourage you to invest in permanent homes and support – the key ingredients to ending homelessness for good.
Give online now at skidrow.org/give.
We’ve partnered with The Order, a Downtown Los Angeles tattoo parlor, to offer free tattoo cover-ups to Trust residents. Tattoos, particularly those gained in prison, can be lasting reminders of a painful past. By transforming tattoos that are a source of stigma and shame, a cover-up can represent redemption, acceptance and hope. Kenneth, a Peer Advocate at the Trust, was the first to visit The Order for a tattoo cover-up. Now a mentor who teaches creative writing to residents, Kenneth received the tattoo while incarcerated. Kenneth was proud of his transformed tattoo by the end of the process, lighting up the whole room with his smile.
Every second Wednesday of the month, Marinello School of Beauty offers free haircuts, styling and manicures to Skid Row Housing Trust residents. It is a great opportunity for the Marinello students to gain experience while giving back to the community. Residents receive a day of pampering that helps them gain confidence. “You can see how proud residents feel about getting a haircut or a shave,” said Brent Smith, a Peer Advocate. “To see someone with a smile like they have makes me feel the joy that they are feeling. I’m so glad that I can be a part of this.”
Haniff is celebrating the start of a new career this Thanksgiving. Four years ago, Haniff’s life was ripped apart when his mother suddenly passed away. In between jobs, the death of his mother triggered a period of depression that rendered him unable to seek new employment. Haniff, a longtime resident of South Los Angeles, started sleeping on friend’s couches when money ran out, and eventually he turned to shelters on Skid Row. Haniff struggled to treat high blood pressure and kidney disease without the stability of a permanent home, and his health declined as he lost hope for the future.
Last year the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services referred Haniff to Skid Row Housing Trust’s Star Apartments, moving him into permanent supportive housing designed for people living with chronic health conditions. With both a medical clinic and a wellness center on site, the Star Apartments was a sanctuary where Haniff could heal.
With the foundation of a permanent home and a supportive community, Haniff graduated from L.A. Kitchen’s culinary job training program, and he was recently hired as a prep cook. “It wears you down moving from place to place, and you can’t find a sense of normal. You can’t do anything but exist,” said Haniff. “Now I have a refuge and a routine. With a place to live, I can work towards a better life.”
Help more people struggling with chronic health and mental health conditions escape the cycle of homelessness by supporting Skid Row Housing Trust’s innovative permanent supportive housing. Please consider making a recurring monthly donation to fund evidence-based programs that help residents build healthier futures. Take part in permanently ending homelessness in Los Angeles by giving today.
KCRW: Who lives on Skid Row—on and off the streets? KCRW’s Lisa Napoli brings us this portrait from the heart of the neighborhood: San Pedro Street. In this portrait, Lisa finds out how one man got off the streets—and what challenges remain.