Dear Mayor Villaraigosa,
In 2006, you stood in front of the media and declared “This is the capital of homelessness in America.”
Four years later, nothing much has really changed. So, what’s going to get you to act?
You were elected by the people, so that you could serve the people. Well this is an issue the people want addressed, especially me.
There are organizations, proposed legislation, and many people willing to help, but they need your support. You, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the voice of Los Angeles. Without you, this is not going to get done. You have the power to make a huge difference, so why are you not using it? I understand that it is a BIG problem, but you can start the change. CHANGE LA, Mayor. ACT NOW!
According to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center:
-during some part of the year, there are about 254,000 men, women and children who experience homelessness in Los Angeles County
-on any given night, there are about 82,000 people who are homeless
-the average age of a homeless person is 40
-42% to 77% do not receive public benefits to which they are entitled to
-20% to 43% are in families, most of which headed be a single mother
-About 20% are physically disabled
-About 25% are mentally ill
-As children: 27% lived in foster care or group homes; 25% were physically or sexually abused
-48% graduated from high school; 32% had a bachelor degree or higher
|Race||General Population||Homeless Population|
|Other||2%||Less than 1%|
Over the past few weeks, I have experienced many emotions regarding this issue: anger at the fact very little seems to be getting done, sympathy for those living on the streets on a daily basis, hopelessness because I don’t know what to do, and so many more.
I have also been more attentive to anything related to homelessness, especially in the Los Angeles area. I’ve watched newscasts, read articles and posted blogs.
I also went back into the city and really paid attention. Last Thursday, I had a dentist appointment in LA, and outside the office building steps, there were blankets and carts as a basis for a home for a few homeless people. It amazes me how in about two blocks, the city changes from glamorous and modern to dirty and shattered.
Then today, it hit me. I have two homes. Many have no home. I have my own room in my parents’ house as well as a house near campus. I have two beds, many sets of blankets, food, clothes, and so much other stuff. I am privileged, but so many aren’t. This thought is still sinking in, and I really don’t know what to do about it. I want to act and do something, but what should I do and when can I do it? I’m just a 20-year-old just trying to enjoy her last semesters of college, but I know I need to stop being selfish…. welcome to my inner dilemma.
Mayor Villaraigosa, maybe we can act together in collaboration with many others and start to make a difference. What do you think?
From 2002 through 2004 the Economic Roundtable carried out research, planning and community education in support of Bring LA Home! Bring LA Home was convened by city and county elected officials and is supported by a blue ribbon panel of community leaders. Their mission is to “prevent and end homelessness in Los Angeles County by creating and implementing a comprehensive, innovative, and realistic 10-year strategic plan to end homelessness.”
The Economic Roundtable maintains this site to support the mission of Bring LA Home through information, dialogue and action for ending homelessness in Los Angeles.
In 2006, the “10-Year Strategy to End Homelessness” was released.
This plan was proposed about 8 years ago and it took them 4 years to develop a strategy. Since then, there has not been much done about it except research and reports. But what’s the point of research and reports if there is no action being taken?!
In 2008, Los Angeles received a D+ on a report card regarding homelessness in LA: “Detailed evaluations are summarized in the report, and suggest that the Los Angles region has much work to do.”
So a 10-year plan was proposed, and research and reports have been done, but there has been no action. And if a D+ is not enough to get government officials to stop talking and start acting, then what is?
Mark Horvath was homeless 15 years ago. Today, he has a video blog (aka vlog) that gives homelessness a name and a face for people to associate with each week. Each of these videos are raw and unedited. Below is from a homeless man in Los Angeles:
There is a lot that the government and organizations can do to help solve this problem on a national level. And according to The National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness’ blog , there is proposed legislation that will help. However, without support, nothing will happen. In December, these two bills were proposed:
-S.2800 “THE EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH WITHOUT HOMES ACT”: Expands school stability, enrollment and support for academic achievement for homeless children and youth. In addition, it expands authorized funding to meet transportation needs so that these children and youth can get to school.
-S.2801 “THE FOSTERING SUCCESS IN EDUCATION ACT”: Establishes a new education program to ensure that all children and youth in foster care have school stability, immediate school access, and support for academic success. It encourages collaboration between education institutions and child welfare agencies so that the foster youth can continue in his/her original school if its in the best interest and not worry about transportation since it will be facilitated by the agencies.
Mayor Villaraigosa, please encourage our senators as well as other senators to support these bills. By helping homeless children and youth succeed, we are preventing them from ending up on the streets as adults.