About Us
The Los Angeles Mission is a non-profit homeless shelter serving the hungry and homeless of Downtown's Hope Central (historically referred to as Skid Row) for over 70 years.

Archive for October 2007

I read the Los Angeles Daily News article Unused portable classrooms to shelter homeless By Patricia Farrell Aidem, and my first thought was, why can’t Santa Clarita find a permanent location?

My wife is a teacher and I cannot image that there are surplus classrooms. Perhaps there are! But…

on second thought, why not? We know the homeless tend to move around. Why not create portable shelters that can go where the need is until the need is gone!

If the intent is to meet a real housing need and not just to dodge political pressures, then I think it is a good idea.

Step two is mobile facilities to provide support services. Most importantly, some space for a referral center to get these persons out of the portable housing and into stable housing and support services.

–Herb Smith, President

Yesterday Los Angeles Police Department Officer Deon Joseph made the list of PARADE Magazine honorable mentions for Police Officer of the year. I don’t know the winner, Officer Roy Gilbert of Detroit, but he must be some kinda guy to out do our local hero Officer Joseph.

Officer Joseph has the eyes, ears and hearts of our skid row community. When a patient was dumped at the Los Angeles Mission several months ago he was on the scene instantly with help and concern. He is always looking for ways to improve our community and serve the needs of its citizens.

His leadership to start “Just Like You” demonstrates that his uniform and the calling it represents means more to him than a just picking up a paycheck. It is clearly a commitment to excellence and a spirit of service.

The board and staff of the Los Angeles Mission add our support and appreciation to PARADE Magazine’s recognition of this outstanding officer and a gentleman, too!

–Herb Smith, President

On September 19th I wrote a blog suggesting that Governor Schwarzenegger sign SB2. Little did I think that it would actually be signed!

Why?- Because to do so would open the door to some logical and required planning and zoning for homeless needs on the part of every city in California. .

But, low and behold, it was signed! Now we as service providers need to be diligent to work with planning and zoning officials to assure that the shelter needs of the homeless are properly represented at the planning tables. This is advocacy with shoe leather. But, most of us working for nonprofit organizations simply do not have the time required to do this in every city. So…how about some volunteer advocates with experience in the process who can become familiar with the issues and then advocate on behalf of the homeless.

As a participant in several planning and zoning forays who lived to tell about it, this is not for the faint of heart. Endless wrangling, Environmental Impact Studies, staff reports all can go on and on and on until resolution comes when only one group is left standing. To do this law justice, there now need to be advocates in every city that speak for the shelter needs of the homeless. Those needs might well be quickly assigned to marginal land use locations that limit homeless access. Or land is suggested that comes with prohibitive construction costs such as toxic waste sites and swamp land!

Thank you Mr. Governor for taking the first step! We will do our part on the local level to assure compliance. It was great to see the Mayor Villaraigosa signed on in support. Does that mean we can expect leadership from the City of Los Angeles on this crucial issue? If so, count the Los Angeles Mission in for cooperation.

–Herb Smith, President