Held at various Trust buildings throughout the week, Peer 4 Peer is a support group that gives residents space to talk about issues that affect them. The Trust’s Peer Advocates facilitate the groups to create an environment that is open and compassionate. “We make sure the conversation keeps going,” said Peer Advocate Anthony Haynes. “We are not there to do all the talking, but to make sure everyone is respectful and can share their thoughts.”
Trained in psycho-social education techniques, Peer Advocates are current Trust residents that have experienced homelessness and are successfully housed. The Trust launched the Peer Advocate program to offer additional support to new residents during the critical first 90 days of transitioning from homelessness into housing. Having gone through the transition themselves, Peer Advocates offer mentorship and guidance to new residents based on firsthand experience. They help new residents connect to the wider community by inviting them to participate in weekly groups like Peer 4 Peer.
A supportive community is critical for leading healthy and full life, and Peer 4 Peer is a part of creating that support network. “Group members feel more comfortable in a space with peers,” said Stacey Hartnett, the Trust’s Health and Wellness Coordinator. “They can talk openly about struggles with substance use or mental illness, and gain strength from other residents who may have experienced similar challenges.”
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
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
This summer, interns from Gensler Los Angeles raised $2,000 to purchase supplies for Welcome Home Kits for the first-ever residents of Crest Apartments, the Trust’s newest permanent supportive housing property.
Welcome Home Kits help ease the transition from homelessness into housing by providing essential kitchen ware, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items. On August 1st, the interns put the kits together alongside staff from National Equity Fund, which assisted in the financing of the Crest Apartments. In the next few weeks, new residents moving into Crest Apartments will each receive one of these kits, which will also include handwritten notes of support from the interns.
We are thrilled to work with innovative partners like Gensler and National Equity Fund who care deeply about every step of the permanent supportive housing process. Stay tuned over the coming months as we celebrate the official grand opening of the Crest Apartments, which will provide 64 units of permanent supportive housing in L.A.’s Van Nuys neighborhood.
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.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De Leon, and US Congressman Xavier Becerra helped the Trust officially unveil The Six, welcoming new residents home. With 52 apartments and studios for formerly homeless individuals, it is the Trust’s first development with permanent supportive housing specifically for veterans. In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” The Six has space for onsite supportive programs to help residents achieve health and wellness, and its courtyards and common areas are peaceful sanctuaries that connect with the surrounding community. Designed by Brooks + Scarpa Architects, The Six is expected to receive LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Located in MacArthur Park, The Six is the Trust’s first building completed outside of Downtown Los Angeles, showing that our successful model, based on Housing First, Harm Reduction, and Design Equity, can be applied to neighborhoods across the region. We are expanding our work to create more supportive and affordable housing options for the 44,000 people who are homeless throughout Los Angeles County.
Skid Row Housing Trust’s Director of Resident Programs Joey Aguilar was interviewed by KPCC’s Take Two yesterday, sharing tips and resources for when you encounter someone in the midst of a mental health crisis. If you are concerned about a neighbor living on the street in Los Angeles’ Skid Row, on weekdays you can contact a multidisciplinary street outreach team, which includes a nurse, a mental health specialist, and a substance abuse counselor, at 213-680-6333. Organized by the LA County Department of Health Services Housing for Health Division, these outreach teams connect individuals who are experiencing homelessness in Skid Row to services and housing. They have placed 150 individuals in permanent supportive housing since January.
To help those who are struggling with homelessness and mental illness in the long-term, support evidence-based programs that provide housing and support. Skid Row Housing Trust is committed to building housing and health resources that result in better neighborhoods where everyone has a safe place to call home.
In an effort to support the ongoing health and well-being of residents, the Trust installed exercise equipment last month along its raised running and walking track at the Star Apartments. Residents and staff are starting fitness classes to take advantage of the new equipment, which was funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
Resident Services Coordinator Tootsa Coghlan is developing weekly exercise regimens that promote health and wellness. Aimed at residents who are new to fitness and nutrition, the class will be part physical and part educational. Participants will be guided through daily stretching, walking and exercise routines at the Star, and taught about lifestyle choices that generate good health. Weekly themes will include the muscular-skeletal system, full-body awareness, benefits of vitamin D, heart disease, and mood disorders.