Recuperative Care Center aims to aid homeless in South L.A.


The MLK Recuperative Care Center, open to patients starting Jan. 5, is housed in a former dormitory for Charles Drew University medical students. | Marc Trotz, LA County Department of Health Services

Next month the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services plans to open a recuperative care facility adjacent to the Martin Luther King Community Hospital. The facility will treat homeless patients who have been discharged from the hospital or the nearby county-owned Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center.

“If you’re homeless and you’ve been discharged from the hospital you often don’t have anyone to treat your wounds, change the dressings or help you manage with a broken leg,” said Marc Trotz, director of DHS’ Housing for Health program. “You can’t deal with these conditions properly if you are living on the streets.”

The MLK Recuperative Care Center, which will begin accepting patients Jan. 5, will be housed on the hospital campus, in a former dormitory for Charles Drew University medical students. The center will have 50 rooms and 100 patient beds, making it the county’s largest facility of its kind.
[Read more…]

SCLARC Opens New Headquarters + L.A. Extends Shelter Program for Homeless


South Central Los Angeles Regional Center Opens New Headquarters:  South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC), celebrated the grand opening of Legacy Plaza— the agency’s new headquarters — with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 14. (Compton Herald)

L.A. to Extend Shelter Program for Homeless:  With winter setting in and an El Nino weather pattern eyeing California, officials extended a campaign to help nearly 26,000 homeless people by opening public buildings as temporary shelters. (Fox News)

An Architectural Walking Tour of South L.A.’s Stately and Historic West Adams Boulevard:
South L.A.’s West Adams neighborhood is home to an array of architectural styles and several Historic-Cultural Monuments that have stood the test of time. Curbed LA mapped 13 of the neighborhood’s must-see spots that can be knocked out in a 2-mile stroll. (Curbed LA)

South Central development project concerns neighbors


A new South Los Angeles development project drew sharp criticism from neighbors and health advocacy groups at a press conference Monday. A report released by Human Impact Partners found that “The Reef” development, slated to build two multi-use high-rise buildings, will place over half of renters in the site’s surrounding area at high risk for financial strain or displacement.

In September, the City Council released a 3,000 page environmental report on the development. The document has been has been a source of strain on attempting to be involved in the development process.

“In the immediate, we are concerned about the draft [environmental impact review] project that has only given us 47 days to respond to a 3,000 page document,” said Benjamin Torres of CDTech.

Beyond the environmental impact report, the community is concerned that the development will bring new residents into the proposed luxury apartments while pushing out lower-income locals because of rising rent and property value.

Read More: Neighborhood council to take action on Reef Project report

Los Angeles is the least affordable city for renters, and HIP found that the city lost 65 percent of state and federal funding for affordable housing between 2009 and 2014.

The South Los Angeles neighborhood surrounding the development is one of the most crowded areas in the city. In the community where 45 percent of residents fall below the poverty line, a rise in prices leaves many residents forced to compromise.

The Reef development

Residents hold a press conference in front of The Reef, which plans to develop two new skyscrapers in South LA over the next 15 years. | Caitlyn Hynes, Intersections South L.A.

Community members are worried that The Reef development will not include affordable housing, an issue that already exists. At the press conference, residents and community leaders urged developers and the City Council to consider their voices throughout the 15-year building process.  

Benjamin Torres of CDTech said he was concerned that the decisions made about the development would not include the input of the neighbors who currently live there.

“One [concern] is the long-term process and what the role of the community is, and making sure we have equitable community development that benefits the area,” he said.

Neighbors want South L.A. to attract developers. They also want development to reflect the neighborhood’s residents as they are now, not those who will move in to be a part of The Reef’s demographic.

“Let’s imagine for one minute what this project could be. Imagine if this was affordable housing for the residents of affordable housing for South Los Angeles,” said Jim Mangia, President and CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center. “Imagine if that development was serving the people of this community, who have built this community with their blood and their sweat and their tears. Imagine if some of that retail space were community health centers that served this community.”

Read More: Some South LA residents express uncertainty with billion dollar development 

Dr. Holly Avey of HIP said that her organization was concerned about the negative impact that this development could have on the historic South Central L.A. neighborhood. The report found that community residents who are impacted by displacement and financial issues are at a high risk of a variety of health problems, including anxiety, depression, obesity and diabetes.

Beatriz Solis of the California Endowment said that some families are forced to make delicate tradeoffs, like choosing between healthy food or preschool.

Cynthia Bryant, the owner of a local ice cream shop, voiced her concern that when the development does go forward, the businesses in The Reef will push her out of the neighborhood. Bryant worries that the business space in The Reef will drive up rent prices across the neighborhood.

“I don’t want to be the first one to get on the boat if we get pushed out of this community, because they’re pushing us further and further. But where is the boat loading? Should I be the first or should I be the last, should I keep hanging on?” said Bryant.

The rising rents and subsequent displacement of residents worries Solis as well.

“At the community level, when people are forced out, the whole community fabric begins to unravel, and what cohesion and collaborative efficacy, or social and political power did exist begins to evaporate, making it more and more difficult to have a voice in community development,” Solis said.

Neighbors like Erendira Morales, a working mother of four children, say they want to be a part of this process to make sure that their concerns are being heard and addressed.

“We feel that they are playing with the life and the future of the people who live in this community. Our local representatives are not listening to us,” said Morales. “We have our interests, we have our opinions and we feel that they are not paying attention to us. We want to participate, we want to be part of this process.”

A homeless veteran, lost in the paper shuffle

Edwood | Tiffany Walton

Edwood Deaver and his papers. | Tiffany Walton

On this Veteran’s Day, 15,000 homeless veterans live in California, including 6,000 in Los Angeles County. One of these homeless veterans had been living across the street from me recently, allowed by a neighbor to sleep on her porch.

Edwood Deaver, 49, has been on an 11-year quest to get the Veteran’s Adminstration to cover his housing and disability costs. But a discrepancy over the length of his service has left him in limbo on the streets.

Listen below to my radio story on Deaver’s struggle to get the government to recognize his service.


Created with flickr slideshow.


Like Intersections on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign up for the Newsletter to stay in the loop on news and views from South L.A.

South LA collaborative fights homelessness

Volunteers collect pledge ballots from attendees.

Volunteers collected pledge ballots from attendees. | Anna-Cat Brigida

There are more than 8500 homeless young people in Los Angeles County.  One of the highest concentrations of homeless under the age of 24 is South L.A. The South L.A. Homeless Transition Age Youth plans to take these kids off the streets and improve their lives.

 This story originally aired on Annenberg Radio News.

Formerly homeless treasure affordable, dignified housing in South LA

Video by McKenna Keil

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Irvin Dixon spent the last seven years living on the streets of Los Angeles. He slept on public benches and waited in long lines to receive a meal. This week, by virtue of a collaboration of several local organizations, he has a home.

On Monday, the South L.A. Supportive Housing Program celebrated the grand opening of 56 units of permanent housing, which will give safe living for nearly 100 homeless people. For Dixon, this difference will create an immense change in his lifestyle.

“There’s nothing better to provide anybody than a sense of dignity,” Dixon said.

The units, which were formerly dilapidated but have since been renovated, are availabe to men, women, and children. The residents pay 30% of their monthly income in rent. For Dixon, that is about fifty dollars a month.

The new housing is for people who frequently use county health resources, a requirement that helps create a more efficient delivery of care and resources. Officials say it is more effective to provide people with a living arrangement instead of covering medical bills.

This article was originally published on Annenberg TV News.

Like Intersections on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign up for the Newsletter to stay in the loop on news and views from South LA.

Community unites to bring more homeless youth services to South LA

Jiovonni Tripplett

Jiovonni Tripplett

Dressed to the nines in a grey pinstriped suit, Jiovonni Tripplett hardly looks like he’d ever been homeless. But it was only months ago that the 23-year-old South Los Angeles native stopped seeing the streets as a necessary way of life.

The only child of a mother struggling to overcome drug and alcohol addiction, Tripplett recalls lashing out at other family members who tried to care for him—including his grandmother, who eventually turned the self-described “wild” child over to the county’s Department of Child and Family Services when he was 8 years old.

Tripplett floated in and out of foster homes, and later, youth detention camps—at 13, he stole a car and was released from foster care to juvenile probation services. Ignoring his family’s efforts to help him, he found solace in a gang and racked up robbery and assault charges. [Read more…]

Housing the homeless in Watts

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imageDana Knoll began her day around four a.m. She, and three other volunteers, walked from corner to corner around Watts surveying and interviewing over 165 people living on the streets.

Knoll is working on behalf of 100 Thousand Homes, a national movement to find and house the most vulnerable of America’s homeless.

She is learning about who they are and why they are there. She has candid conversations, gathering information that will position the homeless on a vulnerability index.

The vulnerability index is a tool organizers use to learn about the health conditions of people on the streets.

“If people don’t get off the street, their mortality would be impacted, and so, based on whether they have a chronic condition or a co-occurring disorder–meaning they have substance abuse and or mental health issues–or they’ve been on the street for longer than x number of years, they would then be considered folks, and if they’re willing, and want to get housing, we would try to help get them housed.”

On Friday, 100 thousand homes will identify five to fifteen homeless people in watts who are eligible and willing to receive help. Housing providers in watts will then offer them services that will place them in their new homes.

For the most part, the people Knoll has identified have been receptive to her efforts.

“Sometimes they’re not as forthcoming, but once you start talking to them they open up a little more.”

Among the other criteria, volunteers are also looking to identify people who qualify for government subsidies but may not know it. The problem is, in order to administer a subsidy, candidates must first be identified.

That’s where this campaign comes in, according to Jake Maguire, a representative from 100 Thousand Homes.

“We as a society have made a broad commitment to certain groups of people, like veterans, seniors, people with aids…that we don’t want those people to be experiencing homelessness. It’s important to us as a nation that those people be inside.”

So far, 100 Thousand Homes has housed just shy of eleven thousand people nationwide. Maguire says they are on track to reach 100 thousand by July of 2013. Watts is not alone. Over 100 communities have joined the movement and the number is expected to keep growing.

The meaning of Christmas, from Skid Row

imageKiera was easily singled out for stardom during her two months living at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row. After stunning staff during a public speaking workshop, Kiera was chosen to tell the story of Christmas on behalf of the mission.

“The goal is to put a face to homelessness,” said Marketing Assistant Erin Hennings. “And to remind people of the meaning of Christmas.”

Kiera’s family had re-located from the Bay Area and found their way to the Union Rescue Mission while struggling to get back on their feet. A few weeks ago, Kiera and her family found a new home and moved away from Skid Row. According to Hennings, the family still returns for guidance and assistance, and to take part in community events such as the Thanksgiving feast.

From Union Rescue Mission:
Each night, an average of 145 kids call Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens Family Center home. And thanks to help from friends like you, we have rescued over 1,800 precious children from living on the streets of Skid Row in the last 2 years. Kiera is one of these adorable children. We hope you will take a moment to watch her tell the Christmas Story in her own words!

Los Angeles Police Department argues nonprofits are better than handouts on Skid Row

Listen to the audio story:


Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry and members of the Los Angeles Police Department met Thursday at the Midnight Mission Homeless Shelter to raise awareness about how to channel efforts and resources to better help the homeless community. Perry recommended that people who want to give should donate through reputable organizations, like the Midnight Mission, the Union Rescue Mission and the Los Angeles Mission, rather than dropping off supplies directly onto Skid Row.

“We’re encouraging people and groups who want to help the homeless to partner with local non-profits in Central City East to ensure that donations are distributed in a manner that is safe, healthy and that will have the greatest impact,” Perry sad.

Orlando Ward, the program director at the Midnight Mission, said essential supplies in homeless shelters like his are distributed to hundreds of people in the community. Ward said this helps more people than just the few that might receive food and clothing on the street in the form of a handout.

“Tossing commodities out of the back of a truck is okay for cattle but not for people,” Ward said. “This is not to say the community isn’t welcome, absolutely not. There is a better way to do it…without the unintended consequences that happen when you treat people with less than the dignity they deserve.”

LAPD Captain Todd Chamberlain said that some of those unintended consequences can lead to desperate community members fighting over the resources handed out to them or dropped off on the streets.

“When people come and open the back of their truck up and throw out some clothing and pass out some sandwiches, that’s good for the short term,” Chamberlain said. “But over the long term we find that there is a lot of trash and garbage…there’s crime from the people from in and around the area who want certain things, and once those people leave, there’s a kind of plight left behind in that.”

Chamberlain said those who volunteer their time or resources with non-profits like the Midnight Mission not only help those who are homeless in the short term, but they can help the homeless begin to live more fulfilling lives in supporting organizations that provide rehabilitation, medical and job training services.