For over 40 years, Liberty Hill Foundation has supported the tenants’ right movement. From funding tenants’ organizing in Pasadena and Long Beach in 1977, to supporting successful campaigns for rent stabilization in the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica in 1979 and winning against discriminatory landlords, Liberty Hill has long been an ally in the fight for housing justice. Now, we are taking another step forward in that fight by endorsing and sponsoring Proposition 10.
These days the news can be overwhelming. Stories of violence, injustice and oppression fill our feeds almost daily. Meanwhile, hateful ideas are being given an increasingly visible platform at the national level. These problems can be daunting, and sometimes it’s hard to even know where to start. But the worst thing we can do in a time of so much need is become overwhelmed.
Hermilo Quintana has always worked. He’s pressed shirts in a laundry, cleaned floors and toilets in a beauty salon, and cut diamonds in the Jewelry District. For the past eight years, he’s worked for K-Mart in "replenishment" — placing merchandise back on shelves from 6 p.m. till 2 a.m. most nights. With a salary of $11.33 per hour, he's grossed between $1,400 and $1,500 per month, or about $18,000 annually. Now that K-Mart has trimmed his hours, he makes less.
Last week, one of our grantee partners indicated to us that the new homeless numbers would result in a significant reduction in federal dollars. Not so, says LAHSA. According to Mike Arnold at L.A. Housing Services Authority, L.A. does not stand to lose federal dollars or any government money as a result of the new homeless numbers.
I wrote an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times after the official 2005 homeless count in Los Angeles County revealed nearly 90,000 people were homeless. It was called, “The Homeless And the Numbers Game.” I basically wrote that the actual number is not as important as the significance of the problem of homelessness in the region.
Two years later, in 2007, the number magically dropped to about 73,000 people. At the time, I was quoted as saying, “Where did the 17,000 homeless people go, since our region clearly did not build 17,000 housing units for the homeless?”
Today, in 2009, the homeless number is now 48,000 people (for the whole county.) Wow! A 38% drop in homelessness in a region that is still considered the homeless capital of America. How can it be? Is there really less homelessness? Especially, during the worst economy since the depression?