• November 26, 2018

Daily Breeze: Los Angeles officials say strides are being made in the ongoing battle against homelessness

Supervisor Janice Hahn speaks at a podium

Daily Breeze: Los Angeles officials say strides are being made in the ongoing battle against homelessness

Daily Breeze: Los Angeles officials say strides are being made in the ongoing battle against homelessness 817 575 admin

For more than a year, Arrengton Jackson slept in her car before she was able to move into a subsidized apartment in Harbor Gateway North.

On the streets, sleep didn’t come easy, she said, as she braced for midnight knocks on her car window and other potential threats.

Horace Lackey talks about not having to sleep in the cold thanks to new housing. Los Angeles County and City officials including, Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA County Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn, and Councilman Joe Buscaino gathered to announce progress in their collective efforts to address the crisis of homelessness Monday November 26, 2018 at new affordable housing site in Los Angeles. Many individuals and families have secured housing since voters approved Measure H and Proposition HHH.<br />(Photo by Robert Casillas,Contributing Photographer)

“I just prayed, every night, I just prayed,” the 31-year-old single woman said outside the 127th Street and El Segundo Boulevard Apartments on Monday, Nov. 27. She now lives in an apartment on the fourth floor.

“I love it,’ she said, beaming.

Jackson is one of the success stories in the ongoing fight against homelessness, one that is far from over but is showing progress, according to Los Angeles city and county officials who gathered for a news conference Monday, Nov. 26.

“When people ask me what is the biggest challenge in the county I never hesitate,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I say homelessness.”

Thanks to Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax passed by Los Angeles County voters nearly two years ago to bolster countywide homelessness programs, government officials and social workers say progress is being made.

“I can’t help but have a broken heart when walking the streets of this city,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “But this city’s heart has never been bigger.”

Specifically, help has come in the form of permanent housing for just under 10,000 homeless families in the past year. Crisis and interim housing has been provided for another 18,714.

Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during press conference. where L.A. County and city officials discuss progress in their collective efforts to address the crisis of homelessness, Monday Nov. 26, 2018, at new affordable housing site in Los Angeles.

“Nearly two years ago, we made a promise to voters: that with Measure H funding we would be able to help lift 45,000 out of homelessness in five years,” Hahn said. “Today, we are well on our way to delivering on that promise.”

Officials used the news conference also to urge residents to volunteer to help in the 2019 Homeless Count, set for Jan. 22-24.

Last year’s count drew more than 8,000 volunteers.

Both the county and state saw modest drops last year in the number of people living on the streets. In Los Angeles County, the drop was about 3 percent while the city saw about a 5 percent decrease.

The numbers, however, are still staggering, with more than 30,000 people living on the streets in the city of Los Angeles and 53,000 homeless countywide.

Garcetti’s A Bridge Home plan to construct temporary shelters in each of the 15 council districts was touted as one of the new tools that could help.

The program, however, has encountered opposition from residents who believe selected sites are too close to homes and businesses.

An open house to provide information about San Pedro’s shelter planned at 515 N. Beacon St. will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Port of Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club, 100 W. Fifth St., San Pedro.

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the Watts-to-San Pedro 15th District, said he remains committed to building three Bridge Home shelters in his district.

“There’s a lot of NIMBYism (“Not in My Backyard” sentiment) around this issue,” he said.

The shelters, he said, “will take people off the streets immediately. But most importantly, they will act as a pipeline to permanent housing.”

Buscaino also said work is underway to add 1,600 housing units for all income levels in downtown San Pedro.

The 127th Street and El Segundo Boulevard Apartments, permanent supportive housing that opened in September at 535 W. El Segundo Blvd., provides 160 apartments for formerly homeless individuals and families.

Horace Lackey, dubbed the “Mayor of 127th and El Segundo Apartments, spoke briefly about his experience of moving our of an encampment and into a first-floor apartment in the Harbor Gateway North development that charges a third of residents’ income for rent.

Onsite services help residents navigate through employment, addiction or other issues that have been problems in the past.

“It’s like OK, I’m not out in the cold no more,” Lackey said. “I’ve got neighbors, I’ve got friends. I pay my rent.”

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