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How Small Steps Toward Housing the Homeless Can Work

THE CITY--“Thirty women experiencing homelessness have filled the spots,” said CD 4 Communications Deputy Mark Pampanin enthusiastically.

The opening celebration of A Bridge House for women will take place on Tuesday, September 10, at 9 a.m. at 1403 N. Gardner St. in City Council District 4. This effort was a collaboration of city officials, starting with the Mayor, city departments as well as the persistent involvement of the local community. 

Councilmember David Ryu’s Communications Deputy described this particular bridge house as transitional housing for women, ages 18 and over. The program will offer a stable housing experience where clinical and licensed providers will focus on wellness services, case-management and trainings to assist the women in a path leading to permanent housing. 

There will be individualized assistance in addressing and clearing barriers involving legal or clerical issues that might have barred individuals from jobs and/or housing. There will be sessions in the handling of small infractions such as a parking citation, the renewal of a suspended drivers license, etc., with help from the office of the city attorney. 

The Bridge House at Gardner sits among evergreens in a quiet residential neighborhood of multifamily apartment buildings and within a short block from Sunset Boulevard. The upscale commercial corridor is at a convenient nearby location lined with fine and fast food eateries along with public amenities. Metro bus lines run up and down the boulevard making this housing site accessible by public transportation. 

The Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority identified the women via the Coordinated Entry System (CES), a qualifier that allows individual to apply for affordable housing programs and move forward to permanent supportive housing. “These women are welcome to reside on-site for 90 days and up to two years. They are mostly women from the Hollywood area wanting housing and a more stable track,” said Pampanin in an interview by phone. 

The general operators of the bridge housing at Gardner will be an all women staff from the non-profit Weingart Center. 

According to the August 2019 report by the City Administrative Office (CAO), Prop HHH allocated $1.8 million for this specific permanent interim housing facility while Measure H is providing for 30 beds. Funding will be monitored by the CAO. 

In April 2018, the Mayor officially launched the A Bridge House program and since then council members have introduced many motions identifying underutilized city properties across city council districts for possible evaluation and potential ABH program sites. The Gardner site is one of several ABH programs in the Hollywood area. City records show another Bridge House has been inaugurated recently for different demographics in council district 13. 

Small counts are worth much when it comes to housing people experiencing homeless. 

(Connie Acosta is a board member of the Echo Park Neighborhood Council, NC Budget Advocate, and a member of the Los Angeles Press Club.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.