Palisades Charter High School senior and co-Editor-in-Chief of the Tideline journalism class Eliana Feinstein is coordinating the submission of a series of pieces the Palisadian-Post is publishing from the school’s periodical. A version of this piece originally appeared in Tideline.
By ELSA O’DONNELL | Contributing Writer
Over the past decade, homelessness has steadily risen in California and COVID-19 has only made things worse for the community.
More than 161,000 people experiencing homelessness reside in California, 16% above 2007 figures, Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier this month. In fact, California has one-fifth of the nation’s homeless population, the World Population Review recently reported.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed plans on April 19 to combat the worsening homelessness crisis by spending approximately $1 billion to build homes, clean up encampments and distribute necessities to those in need throughout the city.
Palisades Charter High School students are also doing what they can to address the issue.
Chase Hill, a junior, started a community service project last September to aid people experiencing homelessness in Pacific Palisades. Under the name “Chase’s Care Club,” he collects sleeping bags and assembles hygiene kits to donate to Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness and The People Concern, local organizations supporting the homeless population.
Since starting his project, Hill reported he has put together more than 300 hygiene kits. Each kit includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and mints, as well as COVID-19-related masks and hand sanitizer. Hill distributes the kits through liaisons with Palisades Lutheran Church and Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church.
As of now, Hill said the most needed item is sleeping bags, which he was collecting, along with other donations, at the Presbyterian Church through the end of May. Donation boxes were put out every morning and collected every afternoon.
To encourage donations from the Pali High community, Hill placed bins at the front of the A Building May 5 through 7.
Hill started his project for science teacher Steve Engelmann’s Environmental and Spatial Technology class, which gives the 21 students enrolled the opportunity to help the community or the environment.
“It’s all project based,” Engelmann said. “They can work on anything they want, as long as it’s community service and legal … the structure of the class allows for kids to explore.
“They’re developing problem-solving skills and helping the community, as well as figuring out what it is they care about. I’m really excited to see where they take their projects in the future.”
Hill said he hopes to identify a more permanent solution to the rampant homelessness problem, but for now, he is committed to doing what he can.
“Everybody needs a little help, even if it is temporary,” he concluded.
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