Solimar Ferguson of LAHSA (Los Angeles Housing Services Authority) and Tia Drayton, registered nurse with County Department of Public Health are shown returning to St. Joseph Center after visiting homeless on 3rd Ave. They are part of the C3 team assigned to Venice.
Venice’s C3 Team is starting to move homeless into housing. After just five months in operations, they have some numbers.
C3 is a county, city, community team headquartered at St. Joseph Center to help the homeless in Venice, specifically the area from Dewey to Washington Blvd, Lincoln to Main. Their purpose is to engage, assist, and house. Head of the group is Stephen Butler, assistant vice president of programs at St. Joseph Center.
This writer met with Tia, Solimar, and Steve in December of last year. This writer wanted to observe the team in action on 3rd. Steve briefly explained the operation before departing.
Immediately, after leaving St. Joseph’s to Hampton Dr, we saw two women across the street. Tia and Solimar immediately crossed the street toward them.
Here were two well-dressed, diminutive women rolling up a tent that they had used for the night. This writer would loved to have been able to take a picture of these two because they were the “poster children” for “get rid of homelessness in Los Angels today, not tomorrow.” They expressed a seldom seen extreme of homelessness and they did it with humility and dignity. They were not the stereotype homeless that are seen on the streets or beach of Venice. They looked like semi-professionals, and without the tent, one would never have guessed they were homeless.
This writer walked with the three on 3rd as they talked with the homeless and asked them how they were. Tia re-bandaged a cut on one arm. Tia was equipped with a first-aid kit, and when asked about it being part of the equipment, she said “Oh, yah,” like it was a given for what she did. They had to return, so that day, other than the bandage, it was a meet and “what can we do for you.”
Trust, for the homeless, takes time and engagement. There is an enormous amount of paper work involved after one gains trust to get to the place when one is handed a key to his own apartment.
Stephen said “the team has a lot of different responsibilities when it comes to best serving our unhoused neighbors, which includes coordinating medical and mental health care; re-connecting to past service providers; facilitating connection to income; procuring key documents for housing; navigating the coordinated entry system; and transportation to different types of bridge and permanent housing.
“They assist is the process of getting folks connected to resources like bridge housing, substance use services, medical assessment and treatment, as well as linkage to other resources that lead to health, harm reduction, and housing.”
This writer met Stephen at a Homeless Committee meeting the other night and Stephen was happy to report that the one lady, and he knew immediately that this writer knew who he was talking about, had her own apartment now. That day neither lady wanted to give any particulars. But apparently, one did and now has her own place.
When one hears news like that, one feels both immediate happiness and relief and the thought plays often in one’s head. Cannot imagine the joy the workers must feel when they place someone.
The walk was done in December and there were no figures at the time. They started 24 October. Now they have the follwing figures for the five months in operation, ending 31 March.
People Engaged: 269 (12-month Goal: 300)
People Assisted: 111 (12-month Goal: 150)
Interim Housing Placements: 41 (12-month Goal: n/a)
Assigned to Permanent Housing: 28 (12-month Goal: n/a)
Moved into Permanent Housing: 5 (12-month Goal: 75)
“We have 28 people ‘assigned to housing,’” wrote Stephen. “This means that the person has been connected to some type of voucher or rental assistance, and has a case worker helping him navigate the housing process. The 41 people in interim housing are no longer on the streets of Venice!”