The Southern Truth
By Gloria Zuurveen, Editor-in-Chief
How many of you have read or even heard about the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority also known as LAHSA?
Well LAHSA just released the results of the 2023 homeless count for the City and County of Los Angeles and you don’t even have to guess who is the highest in the number of homeless people. Yes, Black people are the highest in the count again this year just as it has been over the years. LAHSA report said Systemic racism continues to impact homelessness and because of this systemic racism Blacks make up the highest number of people who are unsheltered.
The 2023 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count which was released shows a 9% rise in homelessness on any given night in Los Angeles County to an estimated 75,518 people and a 10% rise in the City of Los Angeles to an estimated 46,260 people. Almost one hundred thousand people are homeless in Los Angeles and most of them are Blacks.
“The homeless count results tell us what we already know — that we have a crisis on our streets, and it’s getting worse,” said Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). “The important thing to take away from today is that for the first time, the city, county, and LAHSA are moving with urgency to house the people living on our streets.” Dr. Adams Kellum is right the report does tell us what we already know, but what Dr. Adams Kellum when she is making over $400,000 dollars salary, will she do to rectify the urgent problem that is an emergency and people are dying daily like the gentleman Mr. Nathanial Hicks, the homeless man who died last week on 54th Street near Crenshaw. He died right outside of a vacant old unused unemployment building in a tent. Again, as I said in last week’s paper, I say it again, “He didn’t have to die.”
But why, because of red tape and people vacillating when it comes to housing the unhoused and especially the Black people in the city and county of Los Angeles. People like Rev, Dr. Gloria Shell Mitchell, CEO, JOY Youth Services Inc dba Minnie’s Shell are waiting and praying about how she is going to continue her mission of housing the homeless young women who have substance use issues and other traumatic occurrences.
She said she has beds and she need help with funding to bring the homeless inside so they can be safe, but she keeps getting the run around and she keeps running all over town speaking and listening to intervention groups like HOPICS and even to Dr. Adams Kellum who said she was out in the community listening to what the providers have to say but like Dr. Mitchell they are just about in the same suffering way. They are suffering because they have beds for the homeless people to lay their heads but the red tape is keeping them from helping more people because of systemic problem and it doesn’t appear, at least when it comes to housing Black people no one wants to solve them that is to solve the problems of housing the Black homeless people.
I paid a visit to Dr. Mitchell’s residential transitional and sober living housing for young women to get back on their feet recently located in South Central at 53rd and Normandie. I was taken aback when I walked through the door. It was clean and immaculate. Two women were sitting and having a meeting with Dr. Mitchell. She gave me a tour and told me that she help the women with whatever they need like filing back taxes, registering to vote, like skills, how to cook, how to clean, how to take care of children and whatever there is they need we will provide for them. She said they teach them anger management, budgeting because she was a former accountant. She said so far three women started college from there in the five years she has been established. She say she did receive some support by way of grants but she need funds to keep up and the expand so she can help many others if only she could fill the beds she currently have which are empty. One of the young ladies has been a resident for more than 3 months and she is alone in the room she occupy because as I said the beds are empty and could easily be a nice place a homeless person to call home. Dr. Mitchell is waiting for Mayor Karen Bass scheduling team to set up a meeting to help her hopefully and to get the help that she needs because, in my opinion this is ridiculous to keep her waiting while she is equipped and she is able to meet the required capacity to fill in the gap by brining people inside and off the cold, hard, concrete streets where many are lying and dying because they have no other place to sleep.
The Southern Truth