By Amelia Anderson
Announcing “A Bridge Home,” the next step in our plan to get our homeless neighbors off of LA’s streets. As services begin to ramp up…as we continue the work of building supportive housing over the next ten years…a gap remains in neighborhoods across our city. Thousands of people have simply lost jobs…missed a couple rent payments…and found themselves living out of their cars. They don’t need long-term services. Just a few weeks to connect to work or a rapid-rehousing voucher. We need to bring them inside now.
So, thanks to our City Council, we’re going to build emergency shelters across L.A. as quickly as possible. The budget will include $20 million dollars from the General Fund – divided among all 15 Council Districts – giving communities across Los Angeles a chance to stand up shelters, and open beds for our homeless this year. And the County – thanks to our Board of Supervisors – is standing by to support those shelters with the services that voters approved.
I am asking for volunteers for my new STNS Homeless Committee to help identify and make plans to use city and or county owned property. First projects proposed, first funded and served. Call Amelia at: (747) 218-1070 or (818) 951-0943. Or e-mail me if you want to ride to attend the next L.A. City Hall Mayor’s Homeless Meeting at the end of this month. For visionary thinkers, this is a real opportunity to input into local politics and…bring home the bacon for our people. How much money is this project worth? Let’s see…$20 million dollars divided by 15 communities – anyway you look at it, that’s a lot of bacon!!
This project is set up for the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council Committees and stakeholders to provide input. After all, it is intended to provide for our own people within our own community which is exactly where they all want to be. It’s a great challenge to our Neighborhood Council system. Providing for our own. Autonomy. Isn’t that the stated premise of what we’ve always wanted? So, our forward thinking Mayor is throwing down the gauntlet. Have we the courage to pick it up? To fall back on our heels and let Council Member Monica Rodriguez or County Supervisor Kathryn Barger run with it is default. To make this happen, we need to gather up our strength and all run down the field together!!!
Working with our County partners, non-profits, and community groups we’ve hired an army of 1,000 social workers, mental health professionals, housing navigators, and anti-addiction specialists… to be the heart, the brains and the muscle of our efforts to move people out of a tent and under a roof. City and County are cooperating in the process to designate the use of their own property, and to bypass red tape and regulations that slow down construction. Homelessness can’t be swept away – we must give people a place to stay…while waiting for jobs, or more permanent supportive housing. These shelters won’t just be in communities…they’ll be a part of communities.
We’ve learned from our work in standing up the city’s newest shelter, which will open up in El Pueblo – the birthplace of our city – this summer. Our lessons help us now to take powerful strides. We have doubled the pace of housing homeless Angelinos since I took office, more than 30,000 people just over the past four years. This is the path out of homelessness…to stop the costly shuffle moving them from one site to another. One of the heartwarming changes I’ve seen is the steady decline of NIMBY-ism. In fact, we now have Angelinos stand up and say: Please bring supportive housing to my neighborhood. Conversations are now turning to build support for safe parking, shelter, and storage for homeless Angelinos. So, my promise and that of City Council to you is, if you have the courage to stand up an emergency shelter in your district, you will get the resources to run it, and keep it safe and clean.