4 questions with this year’s Yes In My Back Yard Champion, Skid Row Housing Trust!
This year, Skid Row Housing Trust was recognized as Los Angeles County’s Yes In My Back Yard (YIMBY) Champion! As a YIMBY Champion, the Trust is challenging stereotypes, and championing solutions to homelessness among the general public.
1. When was Skid Row Housing Trust founded and what is its mission?
The Trust was founded in 1989 to respond to a loss of affordable homes in the Skid Row community. Our founders understood that a home was the critical foundation to get better and that our community would not make progress in addressing homelessness until we provided all members of our community with homes of their own.
2. How is the Trust engaging the local community to assure support for permanent supportive housing in Downtown Los Angeles?
The Trust is engaging downtown community members in our work through regular tours, community suppers, sharing the personal stories of our residents, providing exciting volunteer opportunities, but most importantly by listening to the community. We spend a lot of time getting to know our neighbors and learning their vision for the community. This allows us to design permanent supportive housing developments that are in sync with our residents’ needs and our neighbors’ vision.
3. What has been the community’s response to the Trust’s Skid Row Ambassador’s Program and community suppers?
The response has been tremendous! Our first two community suppers were sold out. We had to turn people away. Our next community supper is scheduled for April 10th. Our resident ambassadors are in high demand. We have brought on a wonderful new intern to help us respond to and generate new speaking opportunities for the ambassadors. We encourage anyone who would like to request an ambassador to speak at an event to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. If Skid Row Housing Trust had one wish, what would it be?
Our one wish would be to see every community in Los Angeles rally around their homeless neighbors. Every single one of us falls on hard times at some point in our lives. It’s important that we support each other when the going gets tough. Every day we are seeing people’s lives change as they are brought back into that circle of community, but there are still so many people in LA who don’t believe that anything can be done for people who are experiencing homelessness. We need communities to be smart and passionate about ending homelessness. We need everyone lending a hand and demanding more of policymakers. We will end homelessness, but the passion or apathy of our communities today will determine how long it takes.
Molly Rysman is Skid Row Housing Trust’s Director of External Affairs. For more information about the Trust visit www.skidrow.org