Hello, hello, welcome to your extra morning show my name is philip defranco And today we’re going to talk about the most visible sign of rising inequality in the United States Homelessness another month of strong number seven and a half years now job creation. That is a record stretch The unemployment rate dropped to three point seven percent That’s a number we haven’t seen in nearly 50 years and the lowest overall unemployment in half a century Is forcing companies to hire workers. They may have overlooked in the past four months Now media figures of touted the strength of the US economy near record Unemployment rising wages increased consumer spending but one statistic does not fit that narrative And that is the homelessness rate despite the strengthening economy America’s homeless population has continued to increase and while the surge is slight the trend is concerning considering the 2018 is the second consecutive Year of rising numbers following six years of declining rates and perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than Los Angeles County which saw a 42% increase in the area’s homeless population between 2010 and 2017 that number coincides with rising rental rates is a 2017 report by the California Housing Partnership found that median rents in LA County rose thirty-two percent since 2000 when adjusted for inflation now while la finally made strides this year by reducing the homeless rate by nearly 5 percent there are still about 50,000 homeless people living in LA County and because of the great weather out here Homelessness is even more visible in Los Angeles than arguably any other city in the country nowhere Is this truer than Skid Row which is a fifty-four block area in downtown, LA where? 2,000 people spend each night in tents or just on the sidewalk It’s the largest Concentration of unsheltered people anywhere in the country and it has a reputation for being a haven for drugs crime and prostitution But the reality of Skid Row is far more complex than any of the stereotypes So in order to understand the nuances of this crisis and the proposed solutions to LA’s homelessness emergency being offered by grassroots Activists nonprofits and government officials.
We sent Koli snow from the team to talk to people on the ground in Skid Row There was never ever ever a time We’re a whole bunch of homeless folks that together had this super-secret homeless You know summit and said we’re gonna take over the eastern side of downtown and we’re just gonna spread it never happening So skit roll with design take a walk through Skid Row, and there’s a good chance You’ll see Jeff page advocating for his community Whether it’s canvassing the streets for broken streetlights Talking to residents of the neighborhood about their ideas or checking in on the construction of new basketball courts Paige better known as general Jeff And dubbed by many as the unofficial mayor of Skid Row has lived and worked as a community activist in America’s homeless capital for 12 years A former rap producer who has worked with names like Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube general Jeff moved to Skid Row in 2006 to pursue community activism after becoming frustrated with the lack of progress He was making working with gangs in South Central Los Angeles But he quickly realized there was only one way to truly grasp Skid Row’s homelessness crisis, you know, I knew that there was this Style of acting called methodology we immerse yourself in a role And so I like if I was gonna play a role as a doctor or you know, go work in the hospitals I thought well, maybe maybe if I reduce myself to a state of homelessness and kind of you know Understood, you know the complexities and the nuances then, you know And I would do that in South Central then by the time I went to UM Skid Row, I would be a little more seasoned And so that’s exactly what I did when I was in South Central I’m staying in abandoned houses abandoned warehouses leaving the streets even in cars You know crack houses It was insane General jeff says the experience taught him that many of the issues that plagued Skid Row’s homeless community need to be tackled through grassroots Efforts rather than what he deems an over-reliance on large nonprofits and city government programs 2006-2007 when I first got in here and there’s a gentleman down he woke up There’s early in the morning a little bit a couple hours before now and he woke up and he was saying yourself man I’m hungry who’s feeding around here.
You know, I can’t wait. I hope somebody hurry up and bring me something to eat and it just That’s not to me that’s not normal as being a human being and so you get hungry you go get it go get food you know hustle up some grub even in the old Wild West days and so Then for the mindset to be reduced to a state of dependency is not normal and so that Motivated me to do more for general Jeff that more meant launching the positive movement an initiative that brings activities like three on three street ball chess clubs and photography classes to a community that much of society has given up on I think all the funding that comes to Skid Row it either goes for some form of recovery of some form of housing Hey, but there’s nothing positive to do as we walked with general Jeff through the streets of Skid Row He pointed out the various ways He and other community members are bringing positive change to the area melee across the street where we have the srl low-income housing Units for homeless folks these this is the very first shipping container housing in the entire nation Skid Row Housing Trust building So those are shipping containers up there that converted into the home for homeless folks one of our projects through Operation facelift We started that in January of 2008.
They know there was a need for color. We started a positive murals project And so just we just gonna paint after our owners Can we put a mural and we also reached out to a couple of organizations? That came in and believed in our perspective is you look at this building behind This is the Central City Community Church of the Nazarene every Wednesday night They have Skid Row karaoke here, and it’s amazing because you have it. You’ll hear everything from Elton John to James Brown’s You know Michael Jackson the little Wayne it’s no telling and you know some people in our community take it very very serious put on suits and ties and you know, like they’re you know Showtime to the Apollo something then you have other people that just come in just sign up and they Alright, you know it’s off but it’s a wonderful opportunity but the community to come together Another we talked about again is more positive programming here, and it’s amazing amazing energy For our community, but despite general Jeff’s positive movement.
The harsh reality of life on Skid Row is still apparent everywhere You look whether its needles strewn on the streets or the nooks and crannies of buildings that the homeless are forced to use due to The small number of publicly available restaurants, you know, this is a toilet, you know, because one thing about people being homeless There’s no access to a you know, the restrooms even in the downtown businesses as you know for customers on they were being criminalized in the form of like they were Like it was some type of a sexual act to where they would have to register for the rest of their lives As sex offenders because they’re exposed publicly. Hey, man, they’re homeless and they’re just trying to relieve themselves You know, these are the types of issues that general. Jeff says are not being properly represented on a local level That’s why he’s been a fierce advocate for getting Skid Row, its own neighborhood council Which would not only give the area tens of thousands of dollars to pursue positive movement style projects But also more autonomy over political decisions in Skid Row where we’ve been a part of the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood council since its inception in 2002 And here we are in with you know, 16 years later now said going on 17 and Skid Row is still Skid Row And so there’s a lot of unrest Unaddressed issues two years ago Los Angeles allowed residents of downtown in North East LA to vote on whether Skid Row could have its own Neighborhood council, but just 15 days before the vote LA City Council member Jose who is our push to make the voting process online? Only a disadvantage for Skid Row residents with less access to computers the measure lost by sixty votes, you know We felt strongly that we got cheated out of our election because obviously Skid Row is prime real estate There’s a lot of development with the downtown revitalization They’re looking at shops looking at Skid Row like Oh soon as we get them out of the way Then we can come in and build skyscrapers and lofts and we’re saying no no, no we live here You know, we have a voice in the face of the matter general Jeff is hardly alone in using grassroots efforts to bring a sense of pride and dignity to the Skid Row community every month Luis Sanchez and his team of Volunteers sets up shop in a small church parking lot in Skid Row where they serve hundreds of hot meals and give out donated clothes We went from just my son my daughter and a couple of volunteers to about 30 40 and then from there just Took off today the foundation is comprised of 150 volunteers focusing specifically on the rising number of children in Skid Row offering up face painting and balloons at the monthly events according to la’s homeless services authority 2018 saw a 109 percent increase in the number of children living in Skid Row an increase that Sanchez believes is due to more domestic violence cases and High housing prices in the city, you know, the kids are walking on the street going to school there watching the drug use they’re watching the stuff that is going on in front of them and and it’s It’s damaging, which is very damaging for them.
And it’s very heartbreaking It’s very heartbreaking on what’s going on kiss You know that your children are not the ones that are it shows this right? It’s It’s the difficulties the families are going through so The children are just a product of the of the difficult situations that alone to give these children and their families a break from the daily struggle of life on Skid Row Sanchez also, Organizes trips to baseball games carnivals golf courses and movie theatres when you give opportunities for the kids that do something It gives the families hope right when they’re able to go to Disneyland or a camping trip or things like that They’re able to look beyond the skid row while these grassroots Initiatives go a long way in improving everyday life for Skid Row’s residents the major issue at hand Shelter and housing is still largely provided through large nonprofits and government funding in 2016 LA City voters passed measure h h h a billion dollar bond program to construct eight to ten thousand permanent housing units for the city’s homeless population over ten years one year later LA County voters passed measure H raising the sales tax by a quarter cent to fund temporary housing and supportive services Such as health care job training and outreach teams Christopher Co the director of home for good a collaborative funding initiative that looks for innovative solutions to Ellie’s homelessness crisis told us that these Outreach teams are crucial to informing the city’s homeless about their options when it comes to transitional or permanent housing or finally Funding the people to go out and talk to people and engage in people.
That’s a process. I Don’t know if you’ve gotten any piece of mail offering eo3 vacation rental at home. You know, it’s hard to believe the first time It’s kind of the same process when someone’s been out there for 10 20 years It takes three six nine months to believe an officer. Sure helped some of Skid Row’s residents We talked to highlighted their contentious relationship with support staff when it came to obstacles preventing them from obtaining housing But for me, the obstacles have been the stuff because the staff has not been supportive down here. They’re always having attitude They’re not Willing to help you or anything like that No, I have not have support nothing like that done here others We spoke with like Daniel Evans who has lived in Skid Row for three years said that housing is obtainable But that it requires some personal responsibility They didn’t make it available for you, you know, if you you know, it’s up to you Let’s get on the vision, you know because they they put it out there for you and get everybody everybody die He don’t have to be in this in this condition You know a lot of just choose to be like it come I was down here living on the screen for a while because that’s what I wanted it for a minute until I Came to my senses them and I would only got out got affordable house While more HHH permanent supportive housing units are built The mayor’s office has ramped up efforts to get more individuals off the streets by spending twenty million dollars to construct new temporary shelters They’re calling the shelter’s bridge homes.
And the plan is to build one in each of LA’s 15 city council districts You can think of it simply as shelter but the reason we’re calling it bridge housing is it has a lot of Upgrading components and worthy of a new name These components include not just on-site support such as mental health services substance abuse treatment and life skill classes but also housing navigation help you can learn about Managing your finances and keeping your home your apartment kind of clean all you want But if no one’s helping you apply for an apartment If no one’s helping you put that rental application together If no one’s helping you actually drive to those places to see those apartments You’re gonna be stuck in that shelter for a long time But general Jeff says that while the intentions behind bridge homes may be good The money could easily end up being wasted if it doesn’t lead directly to permanent supportive housing So you’re taking this funding to try to hurry up and do something a quick fix of what people call band-aid solutions And in three years, you know, you’re gonna once you house these people, you know They’re gonna wind up coming right back to the street So what exactly does a more permanent solution look like look no further than the Downtown Women’s Center the nation’s first permanent supportive housing Provider for homeless and formerly homeless women more than 100 women enduring everything from physical disabilities to substance abuse issues to domestic violence Live at the center while they transition to stability and independence so every woman here that’s housed has an individual case manager that she meets with regularly to make sure she’s on track and One of the outcomes we see from that is a ninety-nine percent retention rate for the folks that we housed here That means that once women are housed in permanent supportive housing at Downtown Women’s Center.
They are not going back on the streets Ah, Novello ease the director of communication and policy at the center told us that the organization follows a housing first model That means the center does not require women that may be suffering from alcohol or substance abuse issues to get clean before they are provided Permanent shelter there is also no limit to how long they can stay there if you think for yourself Everything from getting ready for a job To accessing medical appointments it’s difficult to do if you’re living on the street so the housing first model gives people a foundation and a Safe place to be able to start to rebuild their lives But replicating the centre’s model has been easier said than done not only do these types of facilities require major funding commitments But many communities in LA have been reluctant to embrace Permanent or even temporary housing construction in their neighborhoods for fear of what it will bring to their community I already have a problem with break-ins and assault and harassment and public defecation and urination What I’ve always said is we want to clean in st.
Venice. No parks, not on our beaches are not residential neighborhoods That was the reaction from attendees at two different town hall meetings in Venice last year to the mayor’s proposal to build a single bridge Home in the city but veluwe says that these communities need to understand that homelessness in LA is not going away Do we want them? Sleeping on our streets in front of our houses and businesses or do we want them housed and on a path to stability? It’s a question. All of Los Angeles will need to answer if homelessness is ever going to improve So with all of that set now you’ve heard about some of the solutions that are being trying to tackle this homelessness crisis in Los Angeles I do want to pass some questions off to you is your community experiencing some of the same problems with homelessness that we showcased in Skid Row do you think that outreach teams and housing first programs are the weight forward or do you think it’s up to the Individual to seek out help for themselves and to try and obtain shelter through the options that are already out there I’d really love to hear your thoughts on those questions or just on the story in general also have know we put a link to The GoFundMe set up by the chilo Foundation which we featured in the story to help send children and their families in Skid Row to Disneyland for the day so if you’d like to be a part of that you definitely can but with all of that said I want to say Thank you so much for watching Remember, if you like this video you like these extra morning news deep dives or going even further than we normally do Let us know hit that like button Also, if you’re new here you want more of these daily videos sometimes two times a day videos Be sure to subscribe maybe even ring that bell to turn on notifications.
But with that said, I love your face I hope you have a fantastic day and I’ll see you later on. Today’s brand new philip defranco show .