Homelessness continues to expand in Los Angeles and we are frequently asked the wonderfully intended, but often times somewhat overwhelmed question of “Well, what can just one person do?”. In this article, we feature 10 things an individual can do that will make a difference in minimizing the number of individuals experiencing homelessness.
- If you’re a landlord or have a relationship with one, consider encouraging them to make a unit available to individuals coming out of homelessness. The City’s housing authority offers incentive programs.
- Support efforts that create safe shelters and affordable housing while discouraging NIMBY-ism – the ‘not in my backyard’ idea that pushes the problem elsewhere.
- Continue to ask your elected officials to support policy that will build additional affordable housing in their district. You can find your city council representative here.
- Are you affiliated with a community group, nonprofit, or place of worship? Consider turning your parking lot into a safe overnight parking space for individuals forced to live in their car. You can find more information on the Safe Parking LA site.
- Participate in the annual LA Homeless Count in January in your neighborhood. You can find out more about the next count at They Count Will You.
- Attend a training about the issue so that you can become an ambassador and advocate for our community through Everyone In LA, an initiative of the United Way.
- Lift the organizations doing the hard work and the stories they have to tell – retweet their tweets, forward their facebook videos to friends, volunteer with them to help stretch their budgets, and if possible, consider directing any charitable giving their way.
- Buy gifts that give back to local Angeleno’s who are pulling themselves out of homeless through social enterprises like MADE by DWC.
- Patronize businesses that hire individuals that are or have experienced homelessness, like Skid Row Coffee.
- If you are a homeowner, consider building an Accessory Dwelling Unit or ‘granny flat’ in your backyard to rent. Los Angeles County has launched a pilot program to provide subsidies if you rent to a formerly homeless individual. The County’s Planning Department has more details.
If you have any other creative ideas to share, please contact us at @StarfishMarta.
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