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高级阅读_05 The Way to Cure Homelessness in Los Angeles

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2019年05月06日

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05 The Way to Cure Homelessness in Los Angeles

Mike Alvidrez, Executive Director of Skid Row Housing Trust, believes the way to cure homelessness in Los Angeles is to not require residents to have their mental health or sobriety under control before moving in.That separates The Trust from other supportive housing organizations.

“We believe it's important for them to get housing first…the services work better when it's their choice,” says Alvidrez, who just celebrated the grand opening of The Trust's newest building, Star Apartments.

“With the Star… we created a very large community space where… a whole variety of things are able to be enjoyed by people who don't live at the Star but live in our other buildings in the community.”

Each building offers group classes and activities for residents, as well as medical services and on-site case workers that meet with tenants.The medical services and staff at Star Apartments specifically are paid for by the Department of Health Services.

“Typically healthcare systems don't pay for the solution.They're using their own dollars for something that benefits them and their patients in another sector… everyone benefits.”

Skid Row Housing Trust board member Jennifer Caspar agrees with Alvidrez that supportive housing is a solution for homelessness.

“People say that we build housing for the homeless but we don't—we build housing for the formerly homeless.Once they move in, they're no longer homeless, and their lives are transformed,” says Caspar.

As Star Apartments fills its 102 units with new residents, Theresa Wrinkler is back in her apartment at The Abbey with her husband, feeling thankful for far more than the roof over her head.

“I enjoy my life today.I enjoy doing laundry because I have laundry to do.”

The day after her eighth year of recovery, Wrinkler had the opportunity to speak on behalf of all homeless women in the Hall of Congress in front of Michelle Obama.

“A man asked me ‘why are you crying' and I told him…if you told me eight years ago I would be standing here talking to you with George Washington looking down on me I would have laughed at you.”

Wrinkler got the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C.through the Skid Row Housing Trust.She says the organization gave her a brand new life.

“If I had not found The Trust, I wouldn't have found that last word—trust.”

Wrinkler feeds her pet turtle in her well decorated apartment as those she used to call neighbors try to find a safe haven in the streets of Los Angeles to rest their heads for the night.Skid Row Housing Trust hopes to someday give all these people a key to a new home, and a new life.

“Housing first works.There needs to be more resources set aside for that purpose…so that we don't have homeless folks living under our bridges anymore.”


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