Somebody like Ronnisha Allmond is a good example. A soft-spoken single mother currently living with her daughter, Love, at a First to Serve family shelter in South LA, Allmond was homeless while she was pregnant and slept in a car. She and her daughter moved to the shelter in 2016, where she got counseling to treat her anxiety, and they now live in their own room in an apartment-like setting.
“Thank god for coming here,” she says. “They help me fill out my paperwork for my housing, I have a therapist that actually cares, and I love the environment here, especially for my daughter.”
Allmond plans to move into permanent housing in a few months with First to Serve’s help, and to get her job back at the post office.
“You are part of helping someone pick up the cross and walk again. It’s priceless,” Reed says.
Putting out a call to developers
More of this type of housing is in demand. The Los Angeles County Homeless Services Authority estimated that 14,000 more units of permanent supportive housing countywide are needed to house the homeless. Through Proposition HHH, the city will contribute up to a third of the cost for permanent supportive housing projects.
“Permanent supportive housing is a fairly new solution, but it’s one we know works. It’s 90 percent effective and 43 percent cheaper than leaving someone on the streets,” Ko explains.
“It’s a much needed approach, and we are committed to helping to fill this critical need in the community,” says Robert Lo, executive vice president and head of commercial real estate banking at East West Bank.
Patel is putting out a call to his fellow real estate developers, to step up and lend a hand to the homeless. “I might not be able to solve the whole crisis, but whatever units I can add on any given day, that’s more than what was there before,” Patel says. “So I like to see extra space, if it can be used for a homeless solution, then let’s try to see if the numbers fit together.”
“It’s now on all of us to ensure that these units get built,” Ko says. “We all need to do our part to educate our communities and our neighbors about the transformative effects of permanent supportive housing… It’s time to say yes to housing.”