When I first moved to Los Angeles in 1987, I volunteered at the Catholic Worker Hospitality Kitchen, located in the heart of Los Angeles’ Skid Row on 6th Street and Gladys Ave. I helped to prepare and to serve food on Saturdays and holidays, and I thoroughly enjoyed people treating each person with the dignity that every human being deserves, especially since I imagined that surviving on the streets was a very undignified and debilitating life.
What became unsettling for me after awhile was that, after interacting with these homeless people at the soup kitchen, I could get into my car and drive back to my apartment, where I did not have to worry about shelter, food, or safety. Geographically, I thought, this is Los Angeles’ problem, because that is where all the homeless are living on the streets.
Today, homelessness is no longer a problem for the City of Los Angeles to solve alone.
LA’s Team Effort with Government to Solve Homelessness
Nearly thirty years later, thanks to the efforts of advocates for the homeless and to the leadership of our elected officials in the City and County of Los Angeles, we now have approved strategies to combat homeless that involve coordinated, collaborative efforts from all 88 cities in Los Angeles County, across all levels of government (local, state, and federal), and including human service organizations.
This coordinated and collaborative strategy will address our inability to provide permanent, supportive, and affordable housing by leveraging the strengths and resources of government and the private sector.
For example, at the local level, the recommendations are to make it easier for local governments, such as cities and the county, to incentivize, build, and protect affordable housing. There are various ways to do so, such as promoting the use of inclusionary zoning, developing criteria for building second dwelling units on single-family residential properties, and using public land for housing. As the Mayor of the City of Artesia, these are recommendations that we can consider for adoption to encourage the development of affordable housing units in our city.
5 Los Angeles Organizations You Can Team Up With
Here at Claremont Lincoln University, on April 9, 2016, we hosted our Exchange on “Food Empowerment: From Food Insecurity to Food Oasis”, where our expert practitioners gave us an overview of the problem of food insecurity and of the ways that they are addressing these problems. These agencies and organizations are developing and implementing solutions in their communities and throughout Los Angeles, and they should be integral participants in our response to homelessness.
If you’re wanting to join the team in tackling the Los Angeles area’s homelessness, reach out and participate with the following five organizations.
- Clare Fox, Executive Director, Los Angeles Food Policy Council
- Rudy Espinoza, Executive Director, LURN (Leadership for Urban Renewal Network)
- Ajay Relan, #hashtaglunchbag
- Tiffany Rose, Founder, My Friend’s House Foundation
- Patti Larson, Executive Director, Food Finders
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