Meet Wendy Levin, Member of the Task Force
1. Why did you join the Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness?
When I was getting my degree in Public Health at UCLA one of our requirements was to do a semester-long internship; mine was in the basement of a church across from campus with a small group of people who were just beginning to organize an emergency food and clothing program to help the homeless in their neighborhood. It was called PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) – an agency that now serves close to 2,000 people each month. While my tenure there was relatively short, it had a significant impact on me. Over the years I have watched with great admiration as PATH and other outstanding organizations have worked tirelessly to address the needs of our growing homeless population. But sadly there is still much to be done. When I was invited to join the Business Leaders Task Force, I saw an opportunity to once again become involved with this critical issue and put my energy toward being part of the solution.
2. You have been instrumental in starting the Home For Good Speakers Bureau. Tell us about it!
It’s great. Kent Smith and I head up this Bureau which is comprised of Task Force members who are extremely knowledgeable about our Action Plan and who can go out and speak to community organizations, boards, veterans groups, neighborhood councils and the like about Home For Good. When a request for a presentation comes in, we work to find the Bureau member who best fits the intended audience. So far the program has been extremely successful—our speakers have addressed a variety of groups and have sat on many interesting panels, and the feedback has been excellent. We welcome every opportunity to share with others our plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness, in a bold and cost-effective way, by 2016.
3. You have testified at the Board of Supervisors twice in the past few months. What’s your favorite part of those meetings?
Well, the performance by the mariachi band being honored the first time I testified was pretty special. You never know quite what to expect in these sessions…but I am here to report there is never a dull moment! On a more serious note, I do appreciate the fact that these meetings provide an opportunity for members of the public to address the Board and have their opinions heard. It has been gratifying to see the support the Supervisors have given to our plan and their commitment to solving this problem.
4. At 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh my, I can barely recall what I did yesterday, so that is really a tough one. Based on archival photos and footage I would have to say a ballerina (a great deal of time seemed to be spent in a tutu!!). Sometime later, though, I discovered my interest in health and human behavior and so that is the path I ultimately followed.