Nonprofit vs. Government: Who’s Better at Solving Homelessness is Inside Charity’s take on what’s happening in Los Angeles. Homelessness is a major issue in California. Just in the past year, homelessness has increased in Los Angeles by 12.7 percent. What is being done to alleviate this crisis? While cities like San Francisco spend $5,000 per tent per month to house homeless people in parking lots, private organizations like the Dream Center in LA spend only $6,000 per person for a full year of rehabilitation.
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With the recent closure of the homeless encampment in the Echo Park neighborhood, Matthew Barnett and the Los Angeles Dream Center have a simple message for their neighbors: “You are welcome here.”
This week the enforced closure of the Echo Park homeless encampment went into effect, and the police gave notice on Thursday that the area is officially closed to homeless individuals and families in need. Fences have gone up and people are once again finding themselves on the run, seeking shelter.
But the Dream Center took swift action and has already begun to take in some of those in need through their various residential programs.
“I want anyone who found shelter here on the east side of Echo Park to know that just up the road at the old Queen of Angels hospital on a hill overlooking the freeway, there is a safe home waiting for you,” said Dream Center co-founder Matthew Barnett. “Anyone looking for shelter or a one-year recovery program, we are just around the corner, and you are welcome here. We have several types of housing options available. Come by anytime and we’re happy to discuss how we can accommodate you. We understand your pain, and have many friends who have found themselves in similar situations in the past; and we’ll do everything we possibly can to help you live with dignity.”
The Los Angeles Dream Center has spent more than 25 years helping lift individuals and families out of poverty and providing those without a home with the resources they need to live life to the fullest. To find out more about all they offer to those dealing with homelessness in Echo Park and neighborhoods across Los Angeles, visit https://www.dreamcenter.org/residential/.
Furthermore, last Tuesday the center passed the 350,000 mark of free meals it has provided since mid-March. Car after car pulled up in the LA Dream Center parking lot Tuesday to receive meals regardless of race, religion or creed.
“When there’s a need in our community, the Dream Center is laser-focused on whatever that need is,” said Dream Center co-founder Matthew Barnett. “We’re living in turbulent times, and we need to be able to adapt quickly and help those who need it most. Providing meals is just one small way we can lend a helping hand as Los Angeles grapples with this pandemic.”
If you live in the Los Angeles area and would like to donate food, furniture, household products, clothing, and accessories, you can drop them off at the following address.
The Dream Center
Att: Gifts-in-Kind Department
2301 Bellevue Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Located in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles, CA, the Los Angeles Dream Center is dedicated to transforming lives and underserved communities in the city of Los Angeles. By offering residential and outreach programs to individuals, families, and communities in the areas of homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, domestic violence, education, and human trafficking, the Dream Center aids in immediate and long-term transformation.
Volunteers are working 11 hours a day handing out meals to those in need like Sarah Chevez and her family.
“It’s been really hard to find food in the stores,” said Chevez. “I’m disabled — I just got out of ICU a week ago so anything helps.”
“We’re just relying on compassion and miracles to feed as many people as we can,” said pastor Barnett.
And those miracles are showing up. Pinks is giving 500 hotdogs a day and Chick-fil-A has donated 15-hundred chicken sandwiches. Food is also coming in unexpected ways.
“It just felt like I needed to do something positive to support the community,” said Travis LaSalle.
LaSalle is a film director who is now out of work. He realized restaurants were closing and didn’t want the food to spoil so he had an idea.
“I decided to start calling local restaurants working with friends that work in restaurants to find out where we might be able to get that food and where we might be able to bring it and fortunately the Dream Center here has a fully operational kitchen and is taking whatever food we can bring,” LaSalle said.
Gratitude for a hot meal, a smile and an unlikely hero all coming together in a time of need.
Nonprofit vs. Government: Who’s Better at Solving Homelessness? was first posted at INSIDE CHARITY.
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