United Way + USC: A Deep Dive into Homelessness in Los Angeles County

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When Measure H passed during Los Angeles County’s March election, it promised to dedicate $355 million annually for supportive services that will end homelessness for 45,000 people and prevent homelessness for another 30,000. Just one month later, homelessness initiatives continue to top residents’ concerns for the county’s future.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Homeless Initiatives Director, Chris Ko, spoke to some of L.A.’s youngest, politically-active residents and students at USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work on April 19 about how L.A. County can take a wild-scale approach to ending homelessness.

“Any time you’re dealing with something that seems too complicated or too hard when you think about it, it’s important to realize there will never be a point at which you will have answered all of the questions people have about your work. There will be a point where you’ll have to begin to start, regardless of there being outstanding questions to begin with,” explained Chris when discussing UWGLA’s approach to finding a city-wide solution to homelessness. “When we’re looking at the Coordinated Entry System, we were trying to figure out what does it look like to remake a homeless service delivery system for all of the service providers in LA county. We looked at the homeless count and realized we had to do something that was bigger than any one of us.”

The program, which was called “Wild Ideas and Innovations: A Radical Conversation About Homelessness,” was sponsored by the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work’s Department of Adults and Healthy Aging and was chaired by Suzanne Wenzel, PhD. Other featured speakers including Gabriel Crenshaw (Doctor of Clinical Psychology at USC), Deon Joseph (Senior Lead Officer for the LAPD), and Ellen Sloane (Founder and CEO of SoCapTech Studio).

More than 190 students, community members, homeless services agency representatives, and USC faculty attended the 4-hour event. To see taped coverage from the event, click here!

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USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work presented “Wild Ideas and Innovations: A Radical Conversation About Homelessness” to students and residents on Wednesday, April 19. The event challenged the audience’s thinking during a conversation about homelessness in light of the apparent passage of Measure H and the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.

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United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Homeless Initiatives Director, Chris Ko, spoke to students at USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work on April 19 about how L.A. County can take a wild-scale approach to ending homelessness.

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Deon Joseph, Homeless Advocate & Law Enforcement Consultant spoke to students at USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work on April 19 and introduced them to a different side of Skid Row.

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Students speak to their peers about their experience participating in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count.

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Gabriel Crenshaw, Doctor of Clinical Psychology at USC, gave students a neuroscientific look at the acceptance and denial of LA’s homeless.

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