Helping The Homeless, One Person At A Time - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Helping The Homeless, One Person At A Time

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The idea is getting people off the streets, into housing, and back to being productive members of society. There are a lot of different organizations and approaches, we focused on efforts going on in Mayor Elect Eric Garcetti's Hollywood area.  It was an eye opener, and I made a new friend !

HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Here are links to a couple of the key organizations, that have a plan, have the ‘'will'', but  are always looking for help.

ePath: www.epath.org
Hollywood 4wrd: http://hollywood4wrd.org

It makes a lot of sense, but if it was easy, it would already be done.   A coalition of groups, under the umbrella of Hollywood4wrd are working together to get the homeless of the streets of Hollywood and into their own, permanent housing.  Then the idea is to continue to provide them with the services they need, whether it's medical, psychological, day care, job training, you name it.  

This is being done in Eric Garcetti's Hollywood district, and he believes the approach can be expanded citywide.  During his campaign for Mayor, he stressed that we can end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles. It means agencies that traditionally work with the homeless, such as PATH, works with the Police Dept, with the Mental Health community, with the medical community, treatment specialists, social service agencies, you name it.

There are, they tell me no egos, no one claiming credit. It's about serving the clients. It's a big job, as there are tens of thousands on the streets in the city, literally 50,000 in the county.   In Hollywood, they literally went from person to person back in January, waking them up if necessary, asking them their name, taking their picture, finding out what their story was, what their biggest needs are. 

As Garcetti told me for our story, they tried to determine who was most likely to die first, and prioritized services that way.   I got to spend some time with a man named Don Porter, who literally has never had his own place since he left home at 17.  He's now 60, and wasted years and years of his life drinking, drugging, and bouncing from job to job and friends place to relatives place to the steps of the Hollywood Post Office.   Don came under the umbrella of Hollywood 4wrd, which helped him into rehab(for a year), and to make a long story short, he now has his own tidy one bedroom apartment in Hollywood, which he was quite proud to show me.  As he put it, "I ain't askin nobody for nothing".

This housing-first approach is similar to what's being done on the county level with their First 50  program.  The idea is housing first, and services to support them.  It's an interesting idea. It's not perfect but it seems to be working.  The stakes are high.  There are dangerous, mentally ill people in desperate need to help on the streets (See the alleged killer of the woman in Hollywood a week ago by a violent mentally ill ex con who was back on the streets).  But there are many many more who have the desire to change and rejoin society and be productive.

With some serious help from dedicated people they can get there.

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