Mayor Eric Garcetti shares ideas for how REALTORS can help those experiencing homelessness at the SBAOR Homelessness Crisis event
The South Bay Association of Realtors always goes above and beyond in helping local realtors to stay up to date on the major issues facing our South Bay community.
The latest was a Homelessness Crisis education event held at The Proud Bird. The price of admission was a coat or blanket, and several huge bags were bursting with donations.
Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke to a packed house of REALTORS eager to learn what the city is doing and how they can be a part of the solution.
The crowd listened intently as Mayor Garcetti laid out the current state of affairs with regard to the housing crisis in Los Angeles. He then outlined current initiatives to help those experiencing homelessness.
“It’s important to get the 30,000 ft view…Some of us are lucky enough to have been born here. The rest of you were smart enough to move here.” Los Angeles is “on fire” in a good way with tech jobs, trade, and tourism. “We have the most productive economy per capita than any other city in the world.”
The Mayor reminded everyone that homelessness is a complex issue. There is no easy, quick solution. The issue demands attention from each of us. “Global warming will define our lives,” he said. “But homelessness is the most important issue you can deal with for our community.”
“There’s nothing we can do in a day or a week or a year. But the idea that we can’t do anything is wrong,” said the Mayor. He believes the answer lies in Bridge Homes that help people experiencing homelessness get back on their feet. “These work. They can take people off the streets so they can get the treatment they need.” He included the sobering statistic that, “91% women on skid row are survivors of domestic or sex violence.” And remember, it costs less to keep someone in their housing than it does to lift them out of homelessness.
The Realtors in the audience wanted to know how they could get involved. Mayor Garcetti reminded them they are the ones there on the ground with insider real estate knowledge and connections. They might know landlords who have units open that can be used for housing. He highlighted the fact that many people experiencing homelessness qualify for housing assistance but there aren’t enough units available. The best thing to do is talk to the county and get information. Be engaged at neighborhood level. Think about where you could build something in your area.
He reminded the crowd that most people experiencing homelessness stay in and around the neighborhood in which they previously lived-in other words, they are truly our neighbors.
“We have to solve this issue at local level, that’s where we can make the most difference. Nothing solves homelessness like housing, so be bold. Be creative. This is a problem decades in the making and it will require putting down our ideological weapons and come together. I challenge all of you to keep saying YES.”
The panel led by Mina Semenza, President of the South Bay Association of Realtors, and Clerk of the City of Gardena also included:
Barbara Delgleize, REALTOR® and Huntington Beach Councilmember
Officer Steven Kim of the Torrance Police Department
Phil Ansell, head of the L.A. County Homeless Initiative
“We can’t arrest our way out of (homelessness), it’s imperative we work with other agencies.” Since homelessness is not a crime, the best thing to do if you see someone experiencing homelessness in your neighborhood is to make a referral to an agency that can help like LA-HOP (LA Homeless Outreach Portal. Police are most effective on calls about crime-related activity.” – Officer Steven Kim of the Torrance Police Department
“Every person experiencing homelessness has a story. What we see today as the defining (reason) is economic. Only abut a third suffer from mental illness/substance abuse…Help people know supportive housing is new and designed on contemporary values and it can help increase property values.” – Phil Ansell, head of the L.A. County Homeless Initiative