Announcement from CEO Mike Alvidrez

Dear Friends,

After 27 years at Skid Row Housing Trust, including 13 years as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, I have decided to step down as CEO next year to allow new leadership to advance the Trust’s mission.

I have made this decision with a sense of fulfillment that many of my professional efforts have been realized. The public perception of supportive housing has forever changed thanks to our partnerships with renowned architects to design beautiful residential and community spaces that foster reconnection, healing, and dignity. Housing First, a model that Skid Row Housing Trust began piloting in the early 2000s, is now a nationally-recognized best practice for serving homeless individuals that many once thought to be “unreachable.” And the Trust’s affiliate Property Management Company is a model of blended management that puts a premium on keeping our formerly-homeless tenants successfully housed long term.

Additionally, there is increasing public awareness of the value that permanent supportive housing brings to our communities. Skid Row Housing Trust advocated strongly for the passage of both Prop HHH and Measure H, which will provide significant local support for both capital development of supportive housing as well as the intensive wraparound services needed to help stabilize the lives of formerly-homeless people in permanent supportive housing. Nevertheless, the disheartening increase in our region’s homeless population is a call to action to redouble our collective efforts to end homelessness, and today the Trust is well situated to answer the call.

It is time for me, the executive team, and the Board of Directors of Skid Row Housing Trust to plan a successful transition of the Chief Executive Offer role.  I have communicated to our Board that I will stay on as CEO for at least another year so that a succession plan can be finalized and a thorough, intensive search for the most qualified person to assume the role of CEO can be accomplished.  It is the Board’s and my joint decision to continue to stay on at the Trust as an ambassador after the successful succession.

It has been the honor of my professional life to lead such a wonderful organization that is unafraid to take on one of the most challenging issues of our time – ending homelessness.  Skid Row Housing Trust has become known for its innovation in housing production and services delivery, its thought leadership, and its commitment to finding decent and humane solutions to homelessness.  Without reservation, I am supremely confident that the Trust will maintain its leadership role in the coming years.

The Trust will send out public notifications when it is ready to accept applications for the CEO position.  In the meantime, I am looking forward to an exciting final year as CEO and in making a successful hand-off to my successor.

My deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported my efforts and those of Skid Row Housing Trust. Thank you helping us touch the lives of tens of thousands of homeless and low-income men and women with your generous confidence and support.

Very Truly Yours,

Mike Alvidrez
Chief Executive Officer

The Hilton Family’s Spiritual Entrepreneurship

Barron’s Penta:

Hilton’s homeless program is not just good philanthropy, it’s changing lives for the better.

What Are the Social Determinants of Health?

RAND Corporation: America spends more on health care than any other nation in the world. Yet from birth to old age, Americans live shorter, sicker lives than people in most other wealthy countries.

A two-year research project at RAND adds some weight to a theory that might explain why. It found better health outcomes in countries that spend more on social safety-net programs like child care subsidies or old-age benefits—even when they spend less on hospital stays and medical tests.

Health care alone, in other words, can only go so far to promote health. Evidence has been accumulating for years that where and how people live plays at least as important a role in how well, and how long.

Housing and Mental Health

May was Mental Health Awareness Month. The Trust’s approach to permanent supportive housing is to provide the stability, support, and community necessary for its residents to address an array of mental health issues. To highlight the connection between supportive housing and mental health, we interviewed Stacey Hartnett, a Resident Services Coordinator, and Kara Klein, a psychotherapist with John Wesley Community Health (JWCH). Stacey and Kara work together closely at the Trust’s Abbey Apartments to provide residents a safe living space that has a network of support. Watch to learn more about how Trust’s partnership with JWCH Institute helps residents achieve wellness.
Learn more about JWCH Institute at jwchinstitute.org.

Transforming the Past

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.

Read more about the partnership in LA Downtowner.

IMG_5986

Kenneth’s tattoo before and after The Order’s cover-up.

Grand Opening of The Six

TheSixRibbonCuttingMayor 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.

The-Six---dusk

2016 Housing First Partners Conference

HFPCBrad

Last week, Skid Row Housing Trust participated in the Housing First Partners Conference in Downtown Los Angeles, which is the largest conference of its kind. Focused on bringing Housing First programs to scale to end chronic homelessness nationwide, over 800 attendees shared strategies and experiences from their communities. As a sponsor, the Trust helped kick-off the conference on Tuesday, March 22nd by leading tours of the Skid Row neighborhood and Trust buildings. Trust staff also presented on lessons learned from renovating and updating older buildings in our portfolio. On the conference’s last day, CEO Mike Alvidrez helped introduce Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who spoke about her $13 billion budget proposal to address homelessness. “We know how to solve homelessness, and our strategies are backed by evidence. For instance, Housing First has been adopted by the VA as the model for ending veteran homelessness,” said Trust CEO Mike Alvidrez. “The challenge now is to expand our programs so that everyone in need can access housing.”

HFPCmaxine

LA County Spotlights Star Apartments

A Star Turn from Los Angeles County Newsroom on Vimeo.

Los Angeles County Newsroom visited the Star Apartments to talk with residents and staff to learn more about the innovative complex. Named one of TIME’s best inventions of 2015, the Star Apartments is a product of Skid Row Housing Trust’s pioneering partnership with Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, which identifies and refers individuals to the Star who were homeless and frequent utilizers of its emergency health services. Watch to find out why the Star is a nationally recognized model studied by organizations and local governments seeking to address the root causes of homelessness in their communities.

Los Angeles City and County Pass Plans to Combat Homelessness

Earlier this month, Los Angeles City Council and the County Board of Supervisors coordinated efforts to pass comprehensive plans to prevent and end homelessness. I am glad lawmakers approved strategies that were created through an extensive stakeholder engagement process, including plans to develop more permanent supportive housing to serve the chronically homeless. Their plans embrace evidence-based approaches to homelessness – including Permanent Supportive Housing and Housing First – that Skid Row Housing Trust implemented over a decade ago when they were still considered controversial. Both strategies have now become standard practice for combatting chronic and veteran’s homelessness.

While the funding for most of the proposed housing and services have not yet been identified, I view these detailed blueprints as a good first step in a long-term commitment by our city and county leaders to remedy an affordable housing crisis that has plagued the Los Angeles economy for far too long. It will require continued coordination to house the 44,000 people currently homeless in our county, and funding to create the housing and services required to prevent homelessness in the first place. Your support and advocacy will help ensure that combatting homelessness continues to be prioritized by local leaders in the coming years.

Mike Alvidrez, CEO

Harvard Designers Hope To Address Social Justice