Partnering to Shelter the Homeless

Shelter Partnership, United States

Katherine Hughes on March 7, 2019 in Food & Shelter

Homelessness is a problem throughout the world, but especially in large cities. One such city is Los Angeles, which has an estimated homeless population of more than 31,000 people (https://la.curbed.com/2018/5/31/17411054/los-angeles-homeless-count-2018-how-many). The homeless population often lack visibility and adequate resources as a result of their situation. One organization that aims to solve the problems surrounding homelessness in Los Angeles County is Shelter Partnership.

Shelter Partnership was founded in 1985 to address the problem of homelessness, and had a goal of working throughout Los Angeles with the necessary expertise to understand the problem. Since then, Shelter Partnership has used more than $235 million to open the S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank, which gives received donations to other agencies who address homelessness, assisted community-based organizations and other agencies with knowledge and securing funds, conducted research about homelessness, and sponsored education in the Los Angeles community about homelessness.

“The role of Shelter Partnership is to help develop solutions to address homelessness on behalf of local government and community based organizations,” said Ruth Schwartz, the Executive Director of Shelter Partnership. “We provide the government and organizations programs, planning, and policies, which can be a lot of things. We might actually develop a plan on behalf of the City, having a plan to address the problem of homelessness, what actions they can take… So we might put together all the various components of a program that people need to include to insure that they're addressing the problem appropriately. We also advocate on behalf of community organizations for certain programs for helping the homeless, and we provide technical support to community agencies who are developing programs help them design the problem.”

Shelter Partnership has had many successes since its founding, but in recent years their successes have increased. “We've had a lot of successes, but we certainly in our shelter resource bank, we've distributed over $240 million worth of new products to over 600 agencies serving the homeless. Just last year we distributed about $9.5 million worth of products on behalf of 256 agencies serving the homeless at no cost to the agencies. We've assisted local governments or the Homeless Services Authority to care over $1 billion in funding for homelessness over the last 20 years, we’ve helped them on a successful passage of two measures we have advocated on their behalf,” Ms. Schwartz said. These two measures are Proposition HHH, which is a supportive housing loan program, and Measure H. Proposition HHH is a $2.1 billion housing bond, which will be used to develop 10,000 affordable housing units for homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless. Measure H is a sales tax that provides money to help the homeless population through housing and services.

Public support is very important to Shelter Partnership’s mission. Ms. Schwartz describes some of the ways the public can support Shelter Partnership and other organizations like it: “People can help the United Way (http://everyoneinla.org/) and become involved in that campaign. Shelter Partnership itself can always use additional volunteers to help in our warehouse project and financial donations are always appreciated.” If you are interested in volunteering or donating to help Shelter Partnership and homeless people in Los Angeles County, you can visit their website at www.shelterpartnership.org.

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