Silverlakeblog caught up with Jeremy Sidell, the Chief Development & Communications Officer of PATH (People Assisting The Homeless), an incredible non-profit organization that has been assisting the homeless population for more than 30 years! They focus on each client and their specific needs, assisting with housing, supportive services and community engagement.
Since 2013, PATH has helped more than 6,000 people move from streets to permanent homes. They are currently working on the Making It Home campaign, with a goal to help 10,000 people Make It Home by 2020. Awesome!
How long have you lived in Los Angeles?
I am born and raised in Los Angeles. With the exception of a few years spent in Oregon attending college, I’ve been here my whole life.
Do you rent or own?
I own my home.
Where did you work before PATH and what lead you to work with the organization?
Prior to coming to PATH I worked in Community Affairs with the Los Angeles Times. I also have stops at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Cure Autism Now.
Birhanu – PATH: Making it Home
What are your thoughts on the housing market in Los Angeles and the challenges for increased rents?
The Los Angeles housing markets is one of the most challenging in the entire nation. Even for people earning good wages, housing has become difficult. Consider then people who are living on the fringes or already homeless. Their housing options are extremely limited.
The Los Angeles homeless topic has been in the news a lot lately, do you think the city is being proactive in addressing the current situation?
We’ve seen more activity and media attention around homelessness from the city in recent months than ever before. It’s extremely exciting and long overdue. We are hopeful that the community will support the efforts of our elected officials to generate additional funds to address homelessness and provide more services and affordable housing.
Who finances the housing projects and how many have been built here in Los Angeles?
Our housing projects are financed by qualified lenders who offer a variety of loan programs for affordable housing projects. Through our current projects we have worked with Bank of America, Citibank, Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
We have eight sites in LA County.
Outreach team – PATH: Making it Home
Do you work with specific developers?
We have partnered with a number of developers on our projects, including A Community of Friends, Affirmed Housing Group, Century Housing, Clifford Beers Housing and Related California. Our permanent supportive housing expertise, combined with our development partners’ experience, results in some of the strongest partnerships in the industry.
Who do you see is the most in need of this type of housing?
Chronically homeless individuals, the elderly, and people with co-occurring disorders are most in need of permanent supportive housing. They also tend to be the people who are the largest users of our hospitals and first responders.
PATH has offices in Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, and Santa Barbara? What are some specific challenges (whether in finding the real estate, partnerships, etc) one city may face versus another?
Coincidentally, all four of these markets are some of the most expensive to live in, so they share a dubious distinction in that people experiencing homelessness, simply cannot afford to live there. Some communities are more open to developing permanent supportive housing and some communities are more engaged in addressing their homeless issues head on.
Farrah – PATH: Making it Home
Aside from building housing, what other services do you assist with?
We offer a variety of services such as strategic street outreach – going to people on the streets, interim housing – a safe place to stay while working towards a permanent home, housing location and placement – assistance with finding appropriate permanent housing, and employment assistance – helping clients who are able to work in becoming job-ready and securing living wage employment.
What would you say is the biggest misconception of homelessness?
One common misconception of homelessness is that people choose to be homeless or that they made bad choices to lead them there. People become homeless for many reasons, including job loss, domestic violence, lack of affordable housing, under-employment, health issues, substance abuse, natural disasters, etc. Each person has a unique life history and unique issues that have contributed to their current situation.
Tell us about the Making It Home campaign and how can people spread the word?
The Making It Home Campaign is our push to help 10,000 people move into their own permanent homes by 2020. In 2013, PATH set out to help 3,000 individuals move off the streets and into apartments – and we exceeded that goal by housing 5,000 people! We are building off this momentum and have set a new goal of helping 10,000 people “Make It Home” by 2020. To make this possible we need support from our neighbors and community. Visit http://www.MakingItHome.org where you can see success stories, donate, find shareable infographics and posts to share on social media. Every dollar and every email, status update, and conversation helps!
Dennis and Mike – PATH: Making it Home
If we had a chance to peek into your schedule, what would an average day look like?
A lot of meetings and a lot of e-mails! I am fortunate to work with a wide cross-section of community stakeholders including elected officials, donors, media, other service providers, law enforcement, the faith community, neighborhood councils, and businesses.
What inspires you every day?
Helping individuals and families end their homelessness. The only way to end homelessness is to put people into homes. It’s such a simple solution, but also one that’s difficult to come by sometimes. This is what keeps me going.
What is the goal for PATH in the next 5 years?
PATH has set a goal to house 10,000 people by 2020. The campaign is called Making it Home and we hope the entire community rallies around our homeless neighbors and helps to make it a reality.
Outreach team – PATH: Making it Home
PATH’s Central Facility is Located at:
340 North Madison Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004
If You are Homeless and/or Need Assistance
Call: (323) 644-2216
Call: (323) 644-2200
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