‘An Initiative to Eradicate Homelessness’

CBRE Pacific Southwest Division President Lewis Horne Shares Updates with PPTFH

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness recently hosted Lewis Horne as their distinguished keynote speaker at the July 22 Community Meeting.

Horne, the CBRE Pacific Southwest division president, has a personal tie to homelessness: His younger brother died eight years ago in a Northern California homeless camp.

“What is happening right now in our community is a crime,” Horne shared at the meeting, referencing the population of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County.

Horne’s presentation covered what he referred to as the “Year of the H”: Hong Kong (foreign investment in LA), high tech, Hulu, Hollywood Park, hospitality and homelessness.

Each of Horne’s points tied back to the same sentiment: Things are going well in Los Angeles.

“Me, I would ask, not this audience, but our global audience in the LA County area: If we can’t figure out how to address the needs of the homeless here, then where on earth are we going to be able to do it?” Horne shared.

Horne explained that vacancy rates are the lowest they’ve ever been and that rents and home values are continuing to skyrocket, yet LA is still having trouble addressing the issue of homelessness.

“It takes a skilled developer to be able to develop something in virtually any community,” he explained. “To try developing any sort of temporary shelter or permanent supportive housing, it’s extremely difficult.”

Horne said that as a leader of CBRE, he asked himself: “What can I do to actually make a difference in our community?”

“What I decided to do was to get informed—and I got extremely informed,” he added.

Horne spent time with the mayor, City Council, The People Concern and FlyawayHomes.

“I spent a lot of time with individuals who are homeless on the street, I spent a lot of time with police officers who are patrolling Skid Row, I wanted to see the unbridled truth and understand what was truly happening,” Horne said. “What I have found is that it’s circular, we are not making progress.”

Horne referred to homelessness in Los Angeles as an issue that is garnering global attention.

Last year, Horne took a team of 45 interns from CBRE and Gensler architect firm and searched for a solution.

“We created a database of 55,000 sites that we believe could be potential temporary and permanent supportive housing sites,” he explained.

Horne identified excess properties from federal, state, county and city governments that could potentially make a good place for a housing site.

“I recognize that the city was going to be difficult, because, to be honest with you, what I really learned is that it’s not the neighbor’s fault, it’s not the City Council’s fault, these people are in an impossible situation, they want to do the right thing,” he said. “As soon as there’s a site identified and it goes through a public process, the neighborhood comes out and goes crazy, it doesn’t matter where it is.”

Horne said there are a million reasons, generally stemming from fear, where people want homelessness fixed, but they don’t want to see it, but that he has started to meet with representatives from various government agencies to see if any of the proposed spaces would make good permanent or temporary solutions.

“We’re in a disaster situation,” he said, later adding, “I think we need a temporary solution.”