Trailers from the Governor become a Safe Landing for Homeless Families in South LA

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Councilmember Curren Price, St. Joseph Center President and CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum stand in front of the trailers alongside partners in the Safe Landing for Families-Broadway project. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Councilmember Curren Price welcomed the arrival of the first 10 trailers sent by Governor Gavin Newsom to Los Angeles County to help alleviate California’s homeless crisis.

Previously used by first responders to the Camp Fire in Northern California, the trailers are being repurposed to temporarily house 10 homeless families with children who are currently living on the streets – in cars or dilapidated RV’s – or in rented motel rooms in South L.A. The trailers are the centerpiece of a project called Safe Landing for Families-Broadway.

“State government is doing more than ever before to combat homelessness. This first wave of trailers to Los Angeles County is part of our state’s broader effort to deploy more resources directly into communities,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “California is treating homelessness like the crisis it is and it’s going to take every level of government stepping up to do their part. I appreciate LA County leaders for providing land and putting these critically needed resources to work.”

Interior of the trailers. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas filed the Board of Supervisors motion to request the trailers from the Governor and to develop the Safe Landings for Families-Broadway project. Councilmember Price filed the Los Angeles City Council motion to expedite the lease for the project site, an LA City-owned parking lot at Broadway and 85th Street.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Just three weeks after identifying a site for the trailers, we have the manifestation of collective civic action. The State of California, LA County and LA City, working shoulder-to-shoulder with the nonprofit, philanthropy and private sectors, as well as residents and volunteers, have created a safe landing for families transitioning out of homelessness. This is what a crisis response can and should look like.”

“With the addition of this location, families will now be offered a fresh start to get back on their feet and on track to building a better future. We’re not only transforming their lives, but restoring their dignity,” said Councilman Price. “We understand the magnitude of this humanitarian crisis and we need to examine every possible solution from different angles. We must continue to work collaboratively and expeditiously with our partners if we are to solve the crisis of our generation.”

One of LA County’s Measure H-funded nonprofit partners, St. Joseph Center, deployed street outreach teams to identify the families who would move into the trailers. At the project site, it will provide the families with wraparound services and connect them to longer-term affordable housing.

Interior of the trailers. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors

“We are so excited to be part of this innovative solution for homeless families from the local community,” St. Joseph Center President and CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum, Ph.D. said. “We look forward to working with them and providing the wraparound services they need to get permanently housed and back on their feet. It’s an honor to be a partner in this important first step to getting homeless families to a place of health and stability.”

Over the last few weeks, LA County’s Chief Executive Office and Public Works Department, in coordination with LA City’s Department of Water and Power and other agencies, expedited the installation of electricity, water and sewage connections at the site, as well as other improvements to make it a safe, secure and welcoming environment.

“The LA County Board of Supervisors has engaged every County agency in its effort to provide a safe landing for the region’s homeless,” LA County Public Works Director Mark Pestrella said. “One of the most significant challenges for our unsheltered neighbors is living without access to the elements of basic human need: safety, shelter and access to clean water. Together, we have equipped 10 RV trailers with power and sewer connections; heat; and a safe, clean water supply. LA County Public Works is proud to be part of the state and regional partnership that is providing a Safe Landing for Families.”

Caltrans delivers the trailers to the Safe Landing for Families-Broadway site. Photo Credit: Caltrans District 7.

To help ensure that Safe Landing for Families lives up to its name, the real estate development firm Trammell Crow Co., along with ConAm Building Co. and Unisource Solutions, donated a trailer for the St. Joseph Center staff to use as an office at the site. Meanwhile, the California Community Foundation donated funds for a playground, dog run and patio area.

“This project is an example of how – in just three weeks – the State, the County, the City, and the private sector can come together and make a difference for 10 families,” Trammell Crow Senior Managing Director Brad Cox said. “That comes from a collaboration, a partnership, a recognition that this problem is not going to be solved in a silo. It needs to be solved with each of us taking individual ownership, having our companies take ownership, and making a difference so that we can solve and address this problem. We are so pleased to be part of this project, and we thank you for the opportunity.”

On Saturday, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Councilmember Price, St. Joseph Center and United Way of Greater LA will host a Community Day with about 50 volunteers and residents from surrounding neighborhoods to prepare and beautify the site. This includes installing landscaping, equipping the trailers with basic necessities, and creating welcome baskets for the families who will move in.

Later this month, Caltrans will deliver the second batch of 10 trailers to Safe Landing for Families-Exposition, which will be in the parking lot of a former LA County Probation building on Exposition and Crenshaw Boulevards.

The 10 trailers at a Caltrans facility prior to being driven to South LA. Credit: Mayra Vasquez/Los Angeles County