Community Comes Together to Help Homeless Families

More than 100 people turned out for Community Day at Safe Landing for Families-Broadway, including TV host Jimmy Kimmel and Everyone In volunteers. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

In a display of compassion and community, more than 100 volunteers came together to prepare the Safe Landing for Families-Broadway site – and specifically the 10 trailers donated by Governor Gavin Newsom – to be “move-in ready” for the homeless families with children who will soon be served there.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and  St. Joseph Center President and CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum, Ph.D. with Jimmy Kimmel Live! staff and family members who donated food, bedding, dishes and other household items. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

St. Joseph Center, the nonprofit homeless services provider for the site, organized the Community Day event in partnership with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Councilmember Curren Price.

Among the volunteers and donors was TV host Jimmy Kimmel, his wife Molly McNearney, and members of the staff of the show Jimmy Kimmel Live.

“This is the County and City of Angels and, today, we are living up to that name,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Here at Safe Landing for Families-Broadway, we join neighbors and volunteers who are committed to readying this site so that 10 homeless families have not just a safe landing, but a place they can feel at home. This boundless compassion must continue to drive our collective urgency to bring all our homeless neighbors indoors.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and TV host Jimmy Kimmel. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“This is our way of saying, ‘Welcome home, a new life awaits,’” said Councilman Price. “We want the new residents to feel the warm embrace of their community and to know that we’re here for them from beginning to end.”

“I am so impressed by and honored to be part of this inspiring and important project,” said Jimmy Kimmel, whose team donated food, bedding, dishes, and other household items for the families moving in. “There is no better way to fight homelessness than by getting families back on their feet.”

Residents of local neighborhoods and St. Joseph Center supporters made up the bulk of the volunteers, along with representatives of local businesses, faith organizations, and United Way of Greater LA’s Everyone In campaign.

Volunteers prepare to load the trailers with supplies. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“It is so wonderful to see the community come together to lift up families experiencing homelessness and to welcome them to the neighborhood,” St. Joseph Center President and CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum, Ph.D., said. “The generosity of the donors, volunteers, and supporters made today possible. Being homeless can be an isolating experience. By joining together today, we are showing our homeless neighbors that they aren’t alone – we are here with them.”

Previously used by first responders to the Camp Fire, the trailers were repurposed into temporary housing for the homeless under an Executive Order issued by Governor Newsom on January 8th. Since then, LA County and City expedited leasing a site and installing electricity, water and sewage connections, as well as other improvements. The trailers arrived at the site on Thursday.

Volunteers from Loyola High School built a playhouse for the children moving into the trailers. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“Collaborative efforts like this to rapidly create housing show that we can work with our partners at the state, county, and city to respond to homelessness in Los Angeles like the crisis it truly is,” LA Homeless Services Authority Interim Executive Director Heidi Marston said. “We remain focused on ensuring we are rehousing our neighbors experiencing homelessness as quickly as possible.”

On Saturday, dozens of volunteers worked hand-in-hand to assemble a play area, dog run and patio sets donated by the California Community Foundation (CCF). They also installed landscaping and cleaned and supplied the trailers with household products. Finally, they made welcome baskets for the homeless families, many of whom are currently living on the streets in the immediate vicinity – in cars or dilapidated RV’s – or in rented motel rooms.

Bedroom in one of the trailers. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“The California Community Foundation is proud to be part of this partnership to provide a safe hopeful place for families on the path home,” said California Community Foundation Vice President for Health and Housing, Ann Sewill. “The County and City leadership in opening this site for ten families in just a few weeks has been exceptional, and I hope we can replicate this in other neighborhoods.”

South Los Angeles resident Cynthia Springer was among the people who came to help her homeless neighbors. “It does something to my spirit to help others,” she said.

Volunteers preparing one of the trailers for a homeless family about to move in. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors