Help us win $100,000 to create a system to end homelessness. Vote for 100 in 100 days: Skid Row Innovates!
In partnership with Goldhirsh Foundation, Good Magazine has asked organizations throughout Los Angeles to propose innovative ideas to tackle the county’s toughest problems. The winner will be awarded $100,000 to undertake their project proposal. We need your vote!
With over 51,000 people living on the streets in 2011 and a prominent reputation as the homeless capital of the nation, homelessness is one of the greatest challenges Los Angeles faces. That is why, Home For Good is proposing a system to radically change the way that we address the needs of our homeless neighbors.
In March of 2013, we launched the Skid Row Coordinated Entry Pilot which will create a system that quickly and effectively matches homeless individuals to housing and services. This system will contain real time information which will make it possible to maximize our resources by assuring that available services are utilized and accurately targeted to address people’s needs. In order to test this pilot system, we are housing 100 homeless residents of Skid Row in 100 days. Moving 100 people into housing in 100 days is no small feat and we need your help to make this a reality!
Help us house 100 people in 100 days and create a lasting system that ensures everyone can access housing. Here is what you can do:
Create an account. It’s FREE to join. All you need is your email address or a Facebook Account to regsiter.
You will be emailed a link that you need to click in order to verify your address.
Once you’ve voted, you’ll get a notification at the top of the screen verifying that your vote has been counted.
You’re done! Now help us spread the word by sharing with your friends!
Good Magazine asked organizations what success for them will look like in 2050. Success for us would mean that in 2050, everyone in Los Angeles has a home. It would also mean that should anyone become homeless for a brief period, there are systems in place to help that person quickly back on their feet. No more Skid Rows!
Gaelle Morand’s photography is now available for free download through the Apple Bookstore!
Gaelle’s ebook, Homeless in Downtown Los Angeles, contains a range of photographs depicting homeless individuals living on the streets of LA. Through her photography, Gaelle is putting a face on the issue of homelessness, creating awareness and spurring action at the community level. All of Gaelle’s subjects have stories, and it shows in their faces. Through her photography she is able to convey the daily struggles that homeless men and women face to survive.
Gaelle’s photographs have been featured at various events, including last year’s Home For Good summit and most recently United Way’s Faces of Homelessness art exhibit. Her new ebook contains images and footage of the homeless individuals whose lives she has been documenting for the past few years. The book is available for free download for iPads. Download your copy of Homeless in Downtown Los Angeles today! Click here for your free download.
We’re excited to tell you more about the Standards of Excellence, an important project of Home For Good set to launch early next year.
When our community set a goal to end chronic and veteran homelessness, we thought it was important that this goal was clear. And we’ve seen the benefits from having a simpler goal: it’s brought our community together, and it’s brought more people into our community. Greater understanding has brought greater participation.
So we’d like to turn our attention to another question we’ve been asked over the years, what does it mean to operate effective permanent supportive housing, emergency shelter, and outreach?
Why create Standards of Excellence?
We believe that being able to answer the question of what makes for effective permanent supportive housing emergency shelter, and outreach will result in several things:
Easier Understanding: Greater clarity around a simpler set of core expectations
Fewer Reports: Expectations, applications, and reporting mechanisms for homeless providers can consolidate around these core standards
Greater Resources: Simpler and clearer standards attract new funders and providers to the space.
Don’t Standards stifle creativity?
Not if you design them well.
Great care will be taken to ensure that the Standards focus only on the core outcomes involved in ending a clients’ homelessness. It will not restrict the various tactics a provider can use to get there (only exceptions explained in question below). In fact, in the absence of these Standards, providers may continue to field conflicting expectations from supporters to complete peripheral activities.
Don’t Standards encourage “creaming?”
To the contrary, the Standards are specifically being crafted in order to prevent “creaming.” “Creaming” refers to the picking and choosing of clients most likely to “succeed,” and this can often occur when you have a performance target (like a housing placement rate) on its own.
However, we are intentionally working to include a few operating standards as well to offset “creaming” practices. One example is that to enter or retain permanent supportive housing, tenants cannot be required to have completed a program, have had a shelter stay, be clean and sober, or medication compliant.
How are these being created?
The development of the Standards for outreach and shelter systems are being lead by Shelter Partnership, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing is leading the development of the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Standards. While it is being informed by research and best practices, we really wanted this to be driven by our local providers.
As a result, the initial draft has been the product of 28 provider workgroup meetings & 65 surveys over the course of 6 months.
They will continue to be refined over the course of this year through more provider workgroups as well as looking at continuum-wide data to see what sorts of targets are reasonable. It is our aim to ensure these complement and bolster similar initiatives at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and our other public agency partners.
What are the next steps?
An early draft of the Standards will be shared on March 21st along with offerings for training and technical assistance.
We are very excited to be partnering with the Center for Urban Community Services and Housing Innovations to provide this capacity building support for providers throughout this year. Details to come at the March 21st event. For more information about the event email Michael Nailat at email@example.com
December 21stis a day of remembrance and reflection. It is National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day and is fittingly set to coincide with the first day of winter, the longest night of the year.
In Los Angeles County, every night over 51,000 people sleep on our streets. Homelessness has devastating effects on their lives, damaging their resilience, health, and well-being. It is an isolating and destructive experience, which on average reduces a person’s life span by 30 years.
Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our homeless neighbors who have paid the ultimate price for our nation’s failure to end homelessness. Last year, more than 152 cities across the United States participated in National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, commemorating friends, family members, and neighbors who have died while living on the streets.
Please join SRO Housing Corporation and their partners in a Memorial to recognize the lives that have been lost on our streets over the last year.
Friday, December 21st at 10:00am
James Wood Community Center
400 E. 5th Street
Los Angeles, 90013
We remember those that have lost their lives. And we recommit to ending homelessness.
LOST ANGELS, a documentary about life in Skid Row, will be premiering at the ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles this Friday, December 7.
The SAHMSA award-winning documentary LOST ANGELS: SKID ROW IS MY HOME takes an uncompromising yet life-affirming look at the lives of eight remarkable individuals–people who have found a way to make a life for themselves within the community of homelessness.
“The idea right from the beginning was to let the people of Skid Row speak for themselves. We were blown away by their dignity, their resilience, their honesty and their stories about life dealing with mental illness and addiction on Skid Row,” says Napper, the film’s director. “We set out to show the poetry in the person with schizophrenia and the wisdom in the heart of a person trying to break a crack addiction.”
With the support of a vast array of advocates and organizers devoted to protecting the rights of society’s castaways, many residents of Skid Row have found a way to stick together and fight back. Narrated by actress Catherine Keener, and featuring the Lamp Community, LOST ANGELS: SKID ROW IS MY HOME demonstrates how proactive approaches to homelessness–most specifically providing housing–are helping many to recover from mental illness and substance abuse and find stability.
Roughly 400 partygoers discoed the night away at the Playhouse Nightclub in Hollywood during Yelp’s Summer SOULstice Disco Dance Party late last month.
The final in a series of four kickoff events for the site’s “100 Days of Summer” extravaganza, it offered local Yelpers and their plus-ones a chance to enjoy delectable food and drinks from places like DeLuscious Cookies & Milk, Sweet Red Peach and Flipflop Wines all while learning about Home For Good.
After taking in a performance by the all-female roller derby team, L.A. Derby Dolls, and hamming it up for the cameras, guests boogeyed their way over to the Home for Good booth for a crash course on the five-year action plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness.
Thanks to their generosity, and the coordination efforts of the entire Yelp L.A. team, more than $1,200 was raised to benefit Home for Good!
As a retired Lieutenant General of the U.S. Air Force, Gene Tattini has experienced first-hand the many challenges faced by millions of military veterans after returning home. So we asked the now Deputy Director at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) about the importance of ending veteran homelessness in L.A. County and why he’s chosen to battle the epidemic through his work with United Way.
General Tattini, you spent 36 years in the Air Force traveling from North Dakota to Libya to Korea and back again. How does it feel for a veteran to finally be able to come home?
As our young men and women who’ve served in the armed forces return, what typically happens is they have a sense – in some, but not all cases – that their service is unappreciated. This was especially true during the Vietnam era and it can be quite a disappointment. But the hardest part of readjusting is making the transition back to civilian life.
In your opinion, what do our servicemen and women need in order to successfully make this transition (e.g., physically, mentally and emotionally)?
After returning from a combat zone, a remote tour or several deployments, the average soldier, sailor or marine may require psychological assistance as well as a little help with translating the skills they learned in the military to the civilian job market. It’s when our vets don’t get the initial help they need that they can end up in a homeless situation.
Why did you decide to become involved with United Way of Greater L.A. as opposed to any other nonprofit? Please describe the impact that working with the organization has had on you.
I contributed to the organization throughout my entire military career through the Combined Federal Campaign and so even as a young officer I knew what United Way was doing for our community. When I retired, the next logical step was to become directly involved with United Way of Greater L.A. Since then, I’ve developed a much better appreciation for the intractable social issues this great country of ours is dealing with in terms of homelessness, education and the economic well-being of families.
Sadly, there are currently more than 9,000 military veterans living on the streets of L.A. County. Why do you feel it’s crucial to provide all veterans with a place they can call home?
Regardless of the myriad reasons they’re without a home, I think they should receive certain benefits through organizations like United Way based on the fact that they’ve made tremendous sacrifices for our country and we owe it to them.
What are your views on Home for Good, the action plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness by offering affected individuals with permanent housing and a network of supportive services?
I am a big supporter of permanent supportive housing; this model is extremely successful and I think United Way deserves a lot of credit for helping to establishing it.
Is there any advice you’d like to give L.A.’s next generation of leaders, including members of UWGLA’s Emerging Leaders, on how to improve the overall quality of life for local residents?
These young men and women have stepped forward and become involved with Emerging Leaders and that’s step one. My advice to them is to stay involved and continue serving the community in that capacity. In the long run, they’ll be much better off for having the experience and getting that exposure.
Lastly, what is the single most important thing for Americans to remember this Memorial Day as we honor the millions of brave men and women who have risked their lives in service to our country?
I think veterans have a better appreciation than most of what this great country has to offer because they’ve served in the armed forces. We must bear in mind that the U.S. has an all-volunteer military and we should be grateful for everything they have done on our behalf.
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.
Erica hard at work.
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?
Images have the ability to tell stories and often convey emotional messages that we cannot readily express through words. In the field of homelessness, pictures help us put a face behind the suffering experienced by those living on the streets. In this week’s blog, Lee Jeffries shares his photographs with us and tells us why he takes pictures of homeless individuals – including those living in Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
“In 2008 I was in London to run a marathon. On the day before the race, I thought I would wander the city to take pictures. Near Leicester Square, I trained my 5D camera with a long, 70-200 lens on a young, homeless woman who was huddled in a sleeping bag among Chinese food containers. She spotted me and started shouting, drawing the attention of passersby. I could have just walked away in an embarrassed state, or I could have gone over and apologized to her. I chose the latter, crossed the street and sat with her. She was 18: her parents had died, leaving her without a home, and she now lived on the streets of London. The experience had a profound effect on me, sharpening the focus on the subject matter of my street photography—the homeless—and defining my approach to taking pictures. I don’t want to exploit these people or steal photographs of them like so many other photographers who had seen the homeless as an easy target. In an effort to make intimate portraits, I try to connect with each person on an individual basis first.
I’m self-taught and self-funded, and use vacation time to travel to Skid Row in Los Angeles three times, as well as Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris and Rome, to continue my project. I have just completed a new chapter in Miami and will be coming to LA again at the end of this week.
I have chosen three images to illustrate my approach, all taken on Skid Row in LA. I look to capture the emotion of each subject through the intimacy of light and shadow.”
Lee Jeffries is a photographer based in Manchester, England.
The first step to solving any problem is sizing it up. Doctors have medical records, police departments have COMPSTAT, and homeless providers have a system called HMIS.
The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is an electronic database used to hold information on the characteristics and service needs of homeless people in the U.S. The program was developed in the 1990s in response to a mandate by Congress requiring states to collect data in order to receive funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address homelessness.
While Homeless Counts are essential for gathering counts of homeless people, they do not give us all the data we need to assess the breadth and scope of homelessness and plan for solutions. Broad utilization of HMIS can help provide a consistent and accurate snapshot of a region’s homeless population, including a population count, information on service use, and a measurement of the effectiveness of homeless programs, as HMIS also helps track the number of chronically homeless clients and placements into permanent housing. This information can have important impacts on policy at the federal, state, and local levels.
Even with all of these benefits, HMIS usage has been low amongst homeless providers because its functions have not been the easiest to understand and like any software, it takes time to learn. To help, LAHSA is responding by working with a team from Abt Associates to improve functionality of LA’s HMIS software and provide training sessions on how to make use of those functions. According to LAHSA’s newsletter, as of October 2011 HMIS has reached over 58% bed coverage for Emergency Family and Single Shelters, 62% for Transitional Housing facilities and 35% for Permanent Housing facilities. Congratulations to LAHSA and to users of HMIS – these figures demonstrate that the region has exceeded the goal for HMIS use in 2011!
One of Home For Good’s goals is to track the progress of individuals accessing housing and services and strategically allocate resources. HMIS will play an important role in reaching this goal and creating a system focused on rapid rehousing, thus Home For Good has set ambitious goals for HMIS ongoing system improvements and implementation (see: Home For Good Action Plan).
For more information on HUD’s Homeless Management Information System Initiative click here.