Meet Erica, our new Home For Good intern!
Erica is currently studying Public Policy at the University of California Los Angeles. As an intern at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Erica will be working on creating an outreach system that will allow communities to allocate housing efficiently and equitably to house their homeless neighbors.
What did you think about homelessness in Los Angeles before starting your internship?
I wasn’t aware of the homelessness problem in LA until I moved here last September for Grad school. About a week after I moved here, I started realizing just how many people were living on the streets. Before I started my internship I thought the only thing preventing homeless individuals in L.A. from moving off the streets was the lack of affordable housing.
Have your perceptions changed since beginning your internship?
After starting my internship, I began to realize that homelessness is not a small problem that can be addressed by helping one homeless individual at a time, but rather it is a larger systemic problem that will continue infinitely unless we can change the systems currently sustaining homelessness. I realized that while lack of affordable housing is a problem it is only part of the problem. I now am learning that there are so many hoops homeless individuals have to jump through before they can even acquire the limited affordable housing that is available. I am also learning that there are many people who are working to end homelessness but there are not enough people working together. My focus on ending homelessness has not changed but my understanding of the system homelessness operates in has changed dramatically since starting my internship.
What is it like to work with the Home For Good team?
Well obviously I’m going to say it’s amazing! Really though, it has been a wonderful experience getting to know and working with everyone on the Home For Good team. I was not expecting to have such a great experience with an internship but everyone has been so welcoming, willing to help, and so supportive! I will never be able to fully express my respect, gratitude to, and appreciation of the people I work with. The individuals on this team are incredibly dedicated and hard working- they drive me to be better and I am inspired by every person on the team every day I come into the office. Honestly, there has never been a day that I did not want to come to work, and in reality I look forward to the days I get to go into the office and be reminded of why I went back to school. Working here, I get to see first hand that it is possible to make the world a better place because the people on this team are doing just that every single day.
If someone wrote a song about you, what would be the title?
Dreamer (trying to live in reality)