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South Los Angeles Wants Its Fair Share


VIEW FROM HERE - Many small local neighborhoods are getting angry over homelessness. Since the closing of Winter Shelters in South Los Angeles and the closure of local shelters, there have been a number of homeless people becoming visible on the streets.

One can go along Florence Ave, Western Ave., Manchester Ave., Crenshaw Blvd. and King Blvd. to find homeless people sleeping in the doorways of churches or along the streets. Before morning, many are very visible because they are up collecting recyclables and making their way to the nearby recycling centers for cash.

A little bit further west in Leimert Park and Rancho Cienega Park and along the alley ways of Crenshaw Boulevard, there are homeless people living in make shift quarters. Depending on where you land in the area, you will find people living in their vehicles due to foreclosure, mental illness, chronic unemployment, or job loss.

Local churches that have missions or community development organizations, such as West Angeles Community Development Corporation and St. Bernadette Catholic Church are experiencing high volumes of homeless people and those on the border line. In addition, they are facing food insecurity.

Some neighborhoods are calling the police with the expectation that the homeless in their communities will move along with some enforcement. Unfortunately, with every radio call, some homeless people are being cited for petty crimes that will ultimately cause them to rack up fines they can’t pay and will result in unnecessary warrants – a hindrance to upward mobility.

Even worse, as homeless people become prevalent and more visible, the resources to help them are miniscule. There are not many places for them to go for shelter or rapid placement into a permanent home. And, homeless prevention services are drying up.

Unlike other communities in the County of Los Angeles, South Los Angeles has the second densest homeless population and more than 91% of its homeless go unsheltered.

There has been recent engagement by local homeless service providers and community leaders to ensure that South Los Angeles gets its fair share of homeless funding to resolve its growing problem locally. Historically, there have been very low levels of investment in the area which has made addressing homelessness a difficult task.

South Los Angeles community members are urging their local political leaders to weigh in on getting resources into the community, reduce the number of homeless, and  increase the quality of culturally competent services.

Should South Los Angeles be angry about homelessness? Yes, because it isn’t getting its fair share to move people into homes.

(Janet Denise Ganaway-Kelly offers more than a decade of accomplishments in the housing and nonprofit sector. Janet brings valuable insight in the areas of community and economic development. Additionally, she brings knowledge regarding the leadership and management challenges faced by large and small nonprofits that are struggling or growing organizations. She blogs at  jdkellyenterprises.org ) –cw

Tags: South Los Angeles, South LA, homelessness, neighborhoods, Florence Ave, Western Ave, Manchester Ave, Crenshaw Blvd, King Blvd, Leimert ark, Rancho Cienega Park, churches, St. Bernadette Catholic Church, churches

Vol 9 Issue 61
Pub: Aug 2, 2011

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