Mona Field, a resident of Eagle Rock, is undertaking an effort to educate the community about housing the homeless. Ms. Field is the 1st vice president of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles, the local chapter of the national organization dedicated to engaging citizens in decisions that affect their lives. The L.A. chapter is determined to make sure the public understands the importance of permanent supportive housing for the homeless, which combines housing with on-site health and social services.
At a recent meeting of the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council, Ms. Field pointed to studies by the United Way of Houston, TX and the Furman Center at New York University to show that well-maintained developments for permanent supportive housing have neutral to positive effects on property values. She addressed safety fears about having formerly homeless people as neighbors by pointing out that having people living on the streets is a greater threat to public health and safety than housing them in places where on-site help is available to address their problems.
“I expect we are going to start seeing units built,” Ms. Field told the Boulevard Sentinel. “I expect along Colorado Blvd. we can no longer say height limit three stories when it comes to housing. I think we are all going to have to accept that L.A. is going to look different and that is the only way to provide adequate housing, not only for the homeless but for all renters in this overpriced city.”
The first step toward public acceptance of permanent supportive housing is for residents to be informed, said Ms. Field. She said awareness is high in NELA, where people and organizations are dedicated to resolving homelessness. But, she said, “I am waiting to see how this translates once our councilman or a nonprofit housing group comes to us and says, ‘Hey, we want to do this in “x” specific locations near your home.’ ”
The League of Women Voters of Los Angeles has more information on permanent supportive housing on its website at yesinmyla.org.