Committee Addresses Staggering Increase in Homeless Counts

Responding to a sharp increase in homeless count numbers, the SLNC Homelessness in Silver Lake Committee had substantive discussion around two key issues at its June 6 meeting: the City of Los Angeles’ responses to the affordable housing crisis and the 2017 LA Homeless Count results, which show a 23 percent increase in homelessness in L.A. County. The committee is also joining with nearby neighborhoods to build a volunteer corps.

The co-chairs of the Homelessness Committee are Nithya Raman and Darius Derakshan.

Many of the attendees said that the homeless crisis and the affordable housing crisis facing Los Angeles are two sides of the same coin. In response to the crisis, Mayor Garcetti has strongly supported the idea of adopting linkage fees, which are fees on construction that would be used to build affordable housing in Los Angeles.

At the time of the committee meeting, the city’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee was set to vote on linkage fees, but the vote was tabled. The SLNC Homelessness Committee voted in favor of sending a motion to the SLNC Governing Board asking for a letter of support for linkage fees to be sent to the L.A. City Council.

New Neighborhood Volunteer Corps Forms

On Saturday, June 10, the newly formed SELAHNHC (Silver Lake – Echo Park – Los Feliz – Atwater – Hollywood Neighborhood Homeless Coalition) organized a Homelessness Engagement Training Day, hosted by the longtime homeless advocate and founder of Recycled Resources, Rebecca Prine. For over four hours, participants learned about the city’s homelessness crisis, L.A.’s affordable housing shortage, mental health and substance abuse issues, the different resources available to the homeless, and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to engagement with the homeless. The presentation was followed by role-play session to prepare for direct engagement.

Homelessness in Silver Lake Committee Co-chair Darius Derakshan said that, “With 26 attendees, it was a testament to the enthusiasm of neighbors to make a positive difference for the homeless in our own community.”

Derakshan also noted that SELAHNHC is building a neighborhood volunteer corps, JOIN US! In addition to direct engagement with the homeless population, SELAHNHC is looking for volunteers and donors for events such as Welcome Home, which helps furnish apartments for previously homeless individuals moving off the streets, Hygiene Kit Drives, and more. The first engagement day will take place July 1. Interested community members should email selahnhc@gmail.com to join.