Last year, voters from every demographic and every zip code in Los Angeles County came together to pass the largest effort to end homelessness in our nation’s history.
$1 billion in bonds to fund supportive housing development and services ranging from job training to mental health treatment. We have never shown more unity than we did that day.
But it’s hard to look at our streets today, teeming with tents and heartache, and think “we did it!”
Homelessness is one of the most complex, vexing challenges in our community. It touches every neighborhood and has come to define tens of thousands of lives. We were never going to solve it by just passing a ballot measure.
Over many decades working with our colleagues in government, community leaders, other nonprofits and service providers, and people who have themselves experienced homelessness, we have worked to develop strategies that are demonstrably effective. They work. Supportive housing, for example, is 90 percent successful at reversing chronic homelessness.
With your help, we have the resources to implement these solutions on a scale that has never before been attempted. We can build a Los Angeles where homelessness is temporary and rare.
But none of this is possible without you.
And not just you, but your neighbors, your friends, and the rest of the 1.5 million people in 88 cities who voted for these measures. If we can’t hold that historic groundswell of support in place, we will fail each other and the homeless individuals we serve.
Today, the United Way of Greater LA is launching Everyone In, a historic campaign to keep L.A. united and hold our city accountable to the promises that we made to ourselves last year.
Will you help us keep an eye on the politicians who won’t act? Will you show up at community meetings to say, “yes, I’m happy to have a supportive housing building in my backyard!” Will you make calls and knock on doors and speak up when someone claims it’s too hard or all homeless people are drug addicts or crazy or just don’t want to work?
Ending homelessness in L.A. is going to take all of us and a realistic amount of time to do it.
But when we’re done, it won’t be a temporary fix. We will not shunt people into places where we don’t see them because we couldn’t help them. This is more than possible—and we are already making it happen. Each and every day.
Homelessness is the greatest moral challenge we face in this city and we have the power to end it. But it’s going to take real commitment.