Embracing solutions to homelessness

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I recently celebrated the grand opening of the Crest Apartments, a new permanent supportive housing complex in Valley Glen, where I met Randy Brader. Randy joined the military at age 17 and for nearly 20 years, he served our country in the U.S. Army before being honorably discharged.

After a difficult divorce, he was left heartbroken, hopeless and without a support system, soon falling into homelessness. For a decade, Randy worked odd jobs to get by while living on the streets, struggling to survive. Then, just last year, Randy had a stroke. While recovering at a rehabilitation center, he got connected with services that eventually led him to the Crest Apartments, where he now lives with the care and support he needs to help him get back on his feet.  Randy is thankful to have a safe space again that he can call his own.

The Crest Apartments development is comprised of 64 homes dedicated to housing to our most vulnerable neighbors, with comprehensive onsite supportive services to help them build healthier and more stable lives. All of Crest’s permanent supportive housing is reserved for homeless people who frequently use Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services’ emergency care services, including 23 apartments set aside for homeless veterans.

Crest was built through a partnership between LA City and County and the Skid Row Housing Trust.

This year’s Homeless Count results show that Randy’s story is all too common in our city. Last year, LA’s homeless population increased by 20 percent. Veterans, women, African Americans, Latinos, and youth of all backgrounds are some of the demographic groups in which homelessness spiked. The rising cost of rent, more poverty, and a shortage of affordable and supportive housing are big contributors to the crisis.

Randy (Brader) is thankful to have a safe space again that he can call his own.

However, we’ve seen some areas of improvement. The number of sheltered families improved by 50 percent, while placement in housing for previously homeless individuals is up 30 percent over last year. The Crest Apartments and other community projects have made that possible. But it is clear that we need much more housing like Crest to make a difference in our communities.

This is a primary area of my work as a Councilmember. Over the past year, I’ve pushed for more services to the unsheltered in my district and across Los Angeles, including putting $176 million toward fighting homelessness this year, launching a pilot program to pair job training and housing, creating more permanent supportive housing units where possible, and working in partnership with nonprofit and governmental agencies at regular Homeless Connect Day events. I will make sure resources are allocated equitably to the Valley so that we have the tools we need to tackle the problem.

Randy’s success was made possible by the shelter and services provided at the Crest Apartments. It is the kind of solution we all need to embrace as we work to reduce homelessness in our communities.

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts or comments at paul.krekorian@lacity.org.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Job Creation, represents Council District 2, which includes North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village and other communities in the East Valley.

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