We had an amazing turn out by members of the Valley Glen community who came to hear Councilmember Paul Krekorian speak at our meeting on February 5, 2018. We appreciate his passion and commitment for our city and communities. He shared about upcoming opportunities for improvement including speeding, homelessness, and park improvements.

Councilmember Krekorian explained that traffic surveys have been completed for all major thoroughfares in our area. As a result, the LAPD can now monitor speeding using radar and ticket offenders to better address speeding issues.

On the subject of homelessness, he recently held a Town Hall where various agency representatives explained what is being done about homelessness and the legal limitations that frustrate home and business owners. He has held several Homeless Connect events where homeless individuals can more rapidly get help navigating the process to receive available services. One step in addressing homelessness is to identify unused city owned lots and convert them for use as safe sleeping lots, where the homeless can safely park and sleep at night. Another opportunity is to identify underutilized hotels and motels that might become homeless housing. Further, he mentioned a program that is being piloted whereby the homeless who are getting assistance with housing also undergo job training and placement.

Valley Glen Park has recently undergone improvements, including a 25-30% reduction in turf and an increase in trees. The Greater Valley Glen Council partnered with Krekorian for the installation of an additional shade structure which is planned to be installed by summer over the sand play area. GVGC funded $9,000 and Krekorian funded $11,000. To slow traffic and increase park safety, speed bumps have been installed on Ethel near the park.

The Councilmember’s visit inspired many thoughtful comments and we appreciate his efforts on our behalf.

Update: Jobs & Housing Pilot Program

Councilmember Krekorian provided more details about the Job and Housing Pilot Program on February 16, 2018

A little more than a year ago, the City Council approved my plan to create an innovative pilot program that pairs rapid rehousing with job training to get people off the streets and prevent them from falling back into homelessness. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson joined me in this effort. Before we created the program, the city’s practice had been to give money to nonprofit service providers that work on discreet aspects of homelessness and wait for results. But thanks to the pilot program, the city has played a much more proactive role, making sure that two distinct services — housing and job placement — are viewed as critical and inseparable components of the broader solution to homelessness.

Over the course of a year, the pilot program worked with a total of 59 homeless people in the San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles to help them get housing and a job. It brought together the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE) to provide rapid rehousing subsidies and job training through employment with nonprofit organizations.

Pilot programs like this are meant to be small test runs to see if good ideas actually work and merit greater investment and expansion. Now that we have the results of the pilot’s first year, I can say that the program was instructive and, more importantly, successful in meeting many of our goals. Overall, 42 people completed paid work training assignments, 29 people were housed and 20 of those also achieved placement in competitive employment positions.

While there were significant successes, we did uncover some issues during the pilot. One of the primary ones is how overwhelming it can be for people without shelter to apply for housing and enroll in a job program at the same time. In addition, we found that some of the participants had health, mental health and other barriers that made it difficult for them to hold steady jobs. However, despite all the challenges, more than one-third of all participants are now on their way to housing and employment, major steps that could very well set them on a path toward lifelong independence. This is an extremely positive sign, not just for the affected individuals, but for those of us who want to find lasting solutions to the homelessness crisis.

Due to the pilot program’s success, the City Council has agreed to continue it over the next year. If it continues to produce solid results over that time, I will seek to expand it citywide and amplify those results dramatically.

If you have additional ideas or comments about this issue, please feel free to email me a pa************@la****.org or (818) 755-7676.