How Eagle Rock hopes to tackle homelessness

It will take help from nonprofits and others

George Garcia

By George Garcia, Community News Reporter

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The Eagle Rock neighborhood council has made fighting homelessness — and providing meals, mobile showers and permanent supportive housing — its top priorities.

That’s according to Jane Demian, who hopes these services will make their way to Eagle Rock once a week and added that public involvement and oversight will be critical: “We need to know what the [developer] is doing with public money.”

Homelessness in the city of Los Angeles has spiked 16 percent since last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

“The community is 50-50 — some supportive, others more skeptical — because there is a myth that all homeless people are mentally ill or substance abusers and that’s not true,” Demian said. “More people are becoming unhoused for the first time because of economic hardship.” 

Amid recent disappointments for the neighborhood — such as a church that backed out as a potential spot for temporary bridge housing — community leaders and advocates are tackling homelessness head on with resources such as the three below.

Showers 

The Shower of Hope, a grassroots group, would like to propose showers once or twice a week to people in Eagle Rock experiencing homelessness, according to the group’s director, Mel Tillekeratne. The city must sign off before the services start in Eagle Rock.

The Shower of Hope is a mobile shower service that visits sixteen locations across Los Angeles with their main hub stationed in McArthur Park. 

“Depending on the night, on the main line, we have three to four volunteers shaking hands with everyone and welcoming them, apart from serving 200 to 250 plates a night,” Tillekeratne said.

He said the showers are just one part of a holistic approach that is required: “Unless you’re willing to combine our showers with case management [that] provides addiction recovery, mental therapy and most importantly housing this problem will persist.” 

Food, transportation and safe parking lots for the unhoused 

SELAH, which is a homeless coalition, plans to provide hot meals, safe parking and a transportation van for the homeless, according to Demian. The group also plans to assist in training the community on how to properly engage individuals in need.

The group could not be reached despite multiple emails but the information Demian provided is also included in the minutes of a sustainability committee meeting in August.

Permanent housing

There is no temporary bridge housing in Eagle Rock to help transition people off the streets, according to Jane Demian.

But permanent affordable and bridge housing remains a priority for all homeless residents in the city.

Two buildings will become available for permanent housing aimed at low income families and individuals that “will hopefully become available by the end of 2019 or definitely by 2020,” Demian said. “The only permanent supporting housing will be Colorado Terrace in which the developer received Permanent Supportive Housing [Prop HHH] money, to build a forty-two unit housing” complex.

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