We applaud our County Supervisors and all who have worked hard to make Project 50 a reality. Project 50 is a new, innovative program reaching out to the 50 most vulnerable and desperate people who are homeless on the streets of Skid Row.
As county workers went out to identify these 50 precious souls, they were searching with at-risk medical condition criteria in mind that place folks at higher risk of dying, if they remain on the streets. In fact, if anyone living on the streets has one of the 8 at-risk indicators below, there is a 40% chance they will die, if they remain on the streets just a few more years.
- Tri-morbid-combination of mental illness, poor health, and addicted to a substance
- ER or Hospitalized over 3x
- ER over 3x
- Age over 60
Many of the 50 most vulnerable selected have 2-3 of the struggles above while other have 4-5. These are also people with substance addictions, people with a chronic health condition, such as HIV, and people struggling with mental illnesses. Over 50% are uninsured and amount for over half of the hospitalizations made by street homeless individuals on Skid Row in the last year.
Project 50 will place each of these folks in permanent supportive housing, and surround them with special support services, health care, counseling, support groups, case management, and whatever is needed to help them live a quality life.
Just yesterday I watched one of the 50, a very troubled, agitated elderly Asian woman who often wears a construction type safety helmet while walking the streets. As I watched her struggle to organize her belongings between two buildings, surrounded by drunken men on one sidewalk and violent drug dealers across the street, I thanked God that this kind of special help is on the way to her.
There is concern about the cost, but what value can we put on saving the life of a human being? There are plans to rescue 50 precious lives, and if even this one little lady is saved, then I believe it is worth the cost.
We applaud the group from New York City, Common Ground, for their part in bringing this idea to Los Angeles and we are committed to assisting Skid Row Housing Trust, the local group involved, in helping Project 50 be such a success that one day Project 50 can expand and provide permanent supportive housing to all 471 identified chronic homeless individuals on the streets of Skid Row.
I shared on Channel 7 KABC that this is a step toward living up to the title of the City of Angels, a day when not one human being will be left sleeping on the streets of Skid Row. Union Rescue Mission is committed to doing our part as we work towards that day.
How do you feel about the $5.6 million dollar cost?
Are we living up to the title of City of Angels?
Do you have some innovative ideas on how to end homelessness?