Posted on 03/07/2018

The grand opening included a “Connect Day,” bringing together 20 service providers to engage unsheltered Angelenos who need assistance

LOS ANGELES — Today marked the grand opening of the City’s first Homeless Help Desk — a permanent, welcoming space where Angelenos experiencing homelessness can access information on nearby shelters, hygiene stations, free meals, and medical assistance.

The Homeless Help Desk is staffed by members of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Volunteer Corps and participants in the Older Workers Employment Program — some of whom are themselves formerly homeless.

With support from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s Homeless Engagement Teams, the space will deliver short-term relief to homeless residents, connect them to long-term housing and supportive services, and act as a link between unsheltered Angelenos and local service providers. As part of the grand opening, 20 organizations dedicated to serving homeless Angelenos were on hand for a “Connect Day” to provide aid and spread the word about their services.

“Homeless Angelenos are too often unaware of how close they may be to a warm meal, a shower, or even a place to live,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The Homeless Help Desk will offer a one-stop shop to make it easier to find basic services and begin their transition into supportive housing.”

Working with Mayor Garcetti, Councilmember Jose Huizar issued a motion directing the City, which owns the space, which authorized an agreement with LAHSA to convert a previously unused kiosk into a resource center.

“Every day we see the growing crisis of homelessness all around us,” said Councilmember Huizar. “Converting this otherwise empty City property into a local service hub to allow LAHSA outreach workers and our team of volunteers better serve those experiencing homelessness in the Civic Center and Little Tokyo areas is an additional tool to help those in need.”

In addition to the Homeless Help Desk’s six-day-a week-operation, the City is working to partner with homeless service providers to host “Connect Days” across L.A. for unsheltered populations, where homeless Angelenos will be able to meet with LAHSA outreach workers who can offer help securing longer-term housing, and registering for identification and birth certificate waiver forms that are required for many services.

Connect Days would also serve as regular opportunities for unsheltered Angelenos to give feedback to service providers, helping the City to identify and address gaps and shortages in its resources.

The Homeless Help Desk is located in a kiosk behind City Hall East at 200 N. Los Angeles Street — and will operate Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.