Constantly in the news in L.A. is homelessness: Both the $2 billion plan to address it, and the lawsuits pending against the city for “sweeping” encampments and confiscating possessions.
One side is arguing for cleaner streets, public health, and the safety and reputation of the city. On the other side, homeless advocates are fighting for human rights and against the fact that the homeless continue to be criminalized.
The latest contention brings up the issue of storage – if the homeless cannot store their few possessions, how can they keep them from being swept away by city officials? And – released from homeless shelters – what then do they have to help them stay safe and warm back on the streets?
The landscape of politics and this epidemic changes daily, and it’s not just happening in L.A. Sweeps are taking place in Hawaii, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver, while research shows they’re generally ineffective: They create an adversarial relationship between the homeless and law enforcement, and there is no evidence that sweeps have any long-term effect.
What is effective is reaching out to the community and directly helping the homeless population. This is why Big Change Advisors continues to be dedicated to the work of the Los Angeles Mission.
The L.A. Mission does not focus on homelessness as a shameful problem that must be swept from the streets. It focuses on the human element – the homeless are people, just like anyone, whose issues go beyond whether they can fit their possessions in a 60-gallon container.
Many homeless people struggle with addiction, mental health, financial hardships, or a lack of practical skills. The Mission exists to address the root issues of homelessness and respond with hands-on, tactical solutions that change lives.
Emergency services. The Mission provides a safe place to go – three hot meals a day, overnight shelter, clean clothing, showers, and temporary baggage storage, along with health care, health testing, and counseling, all free of charge.
Recovery services. The Mission helps people address the reasons they’re homeless, and obtain what they need for long-term, sustainable employment and housing. The Mission provides education assessments, career and job services, mental health recovery services, and collaborative and collateral referral resources.
Transition services. Finally, the Mission provides their “students” with a way to make a fresh start. It helps with recovery and transition, empowering people to overcome the challenges in their lives. It makes it possible to go from being homeless to becoming again productive citizens, employees, and members of a community.
With L.A. still having the most chronically homeless people in the country, Big Change Advisors will continue to support the Mission to help bring Big Change to society.
Steve Pomeroy is the founder of Big Change Advisors, a unique M&A consulting firm in Los Angeles that helps businesses achieve big goals while making a big impact on society. To request a free consultation, contact us.