South LA temporary housing site opens in record time as Newsom praises speed of work

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Safe Landing for Families-Broadway site in South Los Angeles Monday, getting an up-close look at 10 trailers donated by the state to temporarily house homeless families with children in the area.

Newsom was joined by two children who were recently homeless, and said the month it took to prepare the site for the trailers is a sign of what the state, counties and cities are capable of doing in a short period of time.

"We often think about the issue of homelessness, but this is not the face we always attach to the issue of homelessness,'' Newsom said, referring to the children. "But for too many Angelenos, for too many Californians, this is
the face of homelessness -- first-graders, folks that are literally out on the streets, sidewalks.''

The trailers were previously used by first responders during the Camp Fire in Northern California, and they have been re-purposed to temporarily house homeless families. Volunteers prepared the site and made the trailers move-in ready.

The volunteers also assembled a playset, dog area and patio sets donated by the California Community Foundation, and they installed landscaping and supplied the trailers with household products, such as dishes and bedding. Twenty-four hour security and supportive resources, such as mental health services and case management, are available.

"This is an opportunity to connect people where they are, meet people where they are and start to deal with the underlying reasons people are struggling in the first place," Newsom said. "Make sure that these kids are getting the education they deserve. Make sure parents are getting their GED or getting the support that they deserve. Make sure that the young man who just lost his job as a construction worker, the reason they're out on the sidewalks in the first place, that there's an opportunity to re-apply to that job or another job and get back on his feet so that he's back into a state of permanence."

St. Joseph Center is the nonprofit homeless services provider for the site, which will work in partnership with the offices of County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Curren Price.

"We know that this is a stop. This is not the end of the story,'' Price said. "We have to do this and more in getting our neighbors off the street.''

Newsom recently announced $650 million in state grants would be put toward addressing homelessness, $250 million of which will be earmarked for Los Angeles. He said the state has identified 44,000 potential sites of surplus land where affordable housing complexes could be built.

"None of us are naive that this ... is the solution. This is ... part of one's journey,'' Newsom said of the trailers. "We're now just entering into this frame of responsibility. It's going to take another year or two, but you're going to start seeing real, demonstrable momentum.''

St. Joseph Center President and CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum said families moved into the trailers early last week.

"This work is really about families and it's about people who are struggling out there,'' Kellum said. You're looking at these beautiful kids who are an example of what it means when communities come together and do whatever it takes.''

Later this month, Caltrans will deliver another 20 trailers to Safe Landing for Families-Exposition, which will be in a parking lot at Exposition and Crenshaw boulevards.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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