Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti: Helping our homeless neighbors this holiday season
There’s no challenge that summons that spirit or demands more of our energy, resources, compassion, and focus than homelessness, the most urgent moral and humanitarian crisis of our time.
I want to take this moment to give you a brief update on what we’re doing to confront this emergency and invite you to be a part of the solution and lend a helping hand to our most vulnerable neighbors.
When we say we need “everyone in” to truly tackle the crisis on our streets, that isn’t an empty call for activism. Meeting this challenge is going to take more than smart policies and big investments — it’s going to require all of us to do our part serving meals, donating food and clothing, and getting out on the streets to lend a hand.
So I want to be sure you have the tools to volunteer, this holiday season and throughout the year, in ways that have the greatest impact on our neighborhoods. Here are a few important tips:
- Coordinate with a community-based service provider: Instead of starting from scratch, work with a local organization that is already focused on solving homelessness every single day. They have the expertise to know the best ways to maximize your impact, where support is most helpful, when is the best time to volunteer, and what supplies and donations are useful.
- Match your donations to what’s needed: It might be tempting to clear out your closet and give stuff away. But it’s important to make sure your donations are actually going to good use. Ask organizations what they need. Often the best option is giving cash donations that give service providers flexibility to get what best fits their services. Never just leave food or clothing near encampments — they may not get used and can just end up adding trash to our streets.
- Watch and share: I created a video about how to give back responsibly. Please watch and share it on Facebook and Twitter to help us spread these important messages.
- Sign up to join us: If you want to learn more about how to help out, go to Volunteer.LAMayor.org to find volunteer opportunities.
This is your city, and I want to make sure you have the latest updates on how we’re confronting homelessness right now and what we’re doing to move people indoors as quickly as possible.
Our strategy starts with record investments coming from our city budget — more than ever before — alongside resources we fought for and won from our state partners. All told, we are pouring $624 million into housing, services, support, and other solutions this year.
We’re tackling every facet of this crisis with every tool at our disposal. On our streets, we’re increasing public health resources near homeless encampments, providing regular hygiene services to our homeless neighbors, and deploying our CARE teams to bring support and faster clean-ups to areas of highest need.
We’re building emergency shelters through our A Bridge Home program, so we can get folks off the streets and under a roof immediately as we connect them with long-term housing, substance abuse treatment, health care, and job training. Already, we have cut the ribbon on nine of these shelters, and we will have a total of 26 — filled with more than 2,000 beds — up and running across Los Angeles by July.
Our strategy is a citywide campaign, and every community across L.A. is embracing an A Bridge Home shelter, helping us reduce encampments and bring unsheltered Angelenos inside. Curious what they look like? Check out my tour of our latest A Bridge Home shelter, which recently opened in Watts.
A Bridge Home is just one piece of the puzzle.
We are also working with our partners to open other vitally-needed shelters like Casa De Zulma, new bridge housing for transgender women who have struggled with trauma and homelessness.
We are investing in long-term solutions too. We have nearly 150 permanent supportive housing projects open or in the pipeline right now, bringing thousands of new units funded by Prop HHH and other sources online, so the most vulnerable Angelenos can find an affordable place to live and get the support they need.
And we’re using innovative approaches to cut red tape and build housing as quickly as possible. Just last week, we broke ground on new Prop HHH-funded housing in South L.A. that uses recycled shipping containers to create apartments.
And we are paying special attention to Skid Row, the epicenter of this crisis. We’re hiring local residents to clean the trash in the neighborhood and tripling the size of our center offering showers, toilets, and laundry facilities.
Our city is permitting and constructing new housing at a faster pace than the rest of our region and the state of California. Meanwhile we are advocating for steps at the local, state, and federal levels that will help us build housing even faster, eliminate barriers to affordable units, protect tenants, prevent evictions, and keep people in their homes.
You can learn about about all these policies and programs at LAMayor.org/Homelessness.
Your City team is working tirelessly to deliver help, housing, health care, and hope to Angelenos experiencing homelessness, while we keep our streets clean and safe for everyone. We welcome you to be a part of this movement and support our nonprofit organizations, all of them vital partners in this fight.
Service is in our DNA in Los Angeles. It’s part of who we are — a true City of Angels. By giving back, we show that ours is a city where everybody belongs.
You can find ways to help at LAMayor.org/
Thank you for everything you do. Have a warm and happy holiday season.