10 More Trailers Arrive to House Homeless Families

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Herb Wesson, United Way of Greater LA President and CEO Elise Buik, LA County Public Works Director Mark Pestrella and the HOPICS team led by Director Veronica Lewis celebrate the arrival of 10 more trailers sent by Governor Gavin Newsom to house homeless families in South LA. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

Governor Gavin Newsom has sent 10 more trailers to temporarily house homeless families in South Los Angeles, bringing the total to 20.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Herb Wesson were on hand when Caltrans delivered the trailers to Safe Landing for Families-Crenshaw/Expo. LA County Public Works Director Mark Pestrella, United Way of Greater Los Angeles President and CEO Elise Buik, and HOPICS Director Veronica Lewis also welcomed the trailers.

Ten families with children are expected to move into the trailers next week. They currently live in cars and dilapidated RVs or rent motel rooms in the immediate vicinity.

Caltrans drops off trailers in South LA. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas spearheaded the effort to transform the LA County-owned site – a former Probation Department parking lot – into a safe, secure and welcoming place where each family can stay in a trailer and receive supportive services from the nonprofit homeless services provider HOPICS, which will also work to transition them into affordable apartments.

“We are ‘all in’ to bring everyone in. This site – created in just over a month – is an example of how we can address the moral and civic crisis of our time,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “By thinking outside the box and collaborating with our philanthropic and business partners, we now have two Safe Landing sites in South LA so that 20 families no longer have to live on the streets. This is the kind of comprehensive crisis response we need to fight homelessness with the compassion and urgency that our communities deserve.”

“The City of Los Angeles is mobilizing every resource at our disposal to confront the homeless and housing crisis, and I am grateful to Governor Newsom and the County Board of Supervisors for stepping up and delivering solutions,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The new temporary trailers will bring 10 homeless families off the streets — progress that reflects the strength of our local and statewide coalition determined to tackle this challenge head on.”

United Way’s Elise Buik, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Mayor Eric Garcetti take a closer look at a trailer. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“For me, this is more than just policy, it’s personal,” Councilman Wesson said. “I’m proud to stand with my Governor and Supervisor to bring our brothers and sisters inside today. We must do more, and we will not waver until we’ve won this fight. These trailers are a physical representation of what we can do when we work together.”

HOPICS — which stands for Homeless Outreach Program Integrated Care System — will provide supportive services at the site with funding from LA County’s Measure H and Prop. 63, the Mental Health Services Act.

“The number of families falling into homelessness in South LA is alarming and ever present every day at our Family Solutions Center,” HOPICS Director Lewis said. “As such, HOPICS is proud to partner with Governor Newsom and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to bring innovation and quick resolutions to our County.”

“One of the most traumatic parts of becoming unstably housed for parents is a sense of losing the ability to control the environment and provide a consistent safe space for their children,” Lewis added. “Safe Landing, along with the other interim housing projects we operate, allow us to restore that for parents who are on their journey to become stably housed.”

To prepare the site, the LA County Chief Executive Office and Public Works expedited the installation of electricity, water and sewage connections in coordination with the LA City Departments of Sanitation, and Water and Power. Meanwhile, the real estate development firm Trammell Crow Co., along with ConAm Building Co. and Unisource Solutions, donated a trailer for HOPICS staff to use as an office at the site. The California Community Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners and the LA Business Council donated funds for a play area and other amenities.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Eric Garcetti, United Way’s Elise Buik, HOPICS’ Veronica Lewis and Councilmember Herb Wesson inside a trailer. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

On Saturday, many residents along the Crenshaw Corridor, as well as representatives of nearby churches and businesses, will convene a Community Day throughout the morning to beautify the site and prepare the trailers to be move-in ready. Plans include adding landscaping, a play area, a dog run and patio furniture, and equipping each trailer with bedding and other household supplies. A press conference is scheduled at 11 a.m.

This is the second community to be built around the trailers, which Governor Newsom, through an Executive Order, made available to local governments to use as temporary housing.

The first – Safe Landing for Families-Broadway – opened earlier this month, operated by the nonprofit St. Joseph Center to serve 10 formerly homeless families “Here in Los Angeles, we are already seeing the tangible impact of our emergency actions to tackle the homelessness crisis, a testament to what we can accomplish working hand-in-hand with local partners,” Governor Newsom said when he visited the site and met with the families earlier this week.

Caltrans delivers the trailers to Safe Landing for Families-Crenshaw/Expo. Credit: Caltrans District 7