By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness hosted a community meeting on Monday, September 27, to discuss “Apartment Leasing As One Homeless Housing Solution—What’s It All About?”
PPTFH Co-President Sharon Browning began the program by sharing updates and opening remarks.
“This is the first time that we’ve really had an opportunity to communicate with you since the city’s decision not to proceed with housing at Will Rogers State Beach,” Browning said. “The experience of dealing with the city’s proposal and its decision-making process was a challenge for our organization, and after the decision was made [known] to our community, it led to a number of board discussions and reflections that are really shaping tonight’s agenda and the agenda … for many weeks and months to come.”
Browning thanked Pacific Palisades Community Council and Pacific Palisades Residents Association for their efforts communicating that Councilmember Mike Bonin’s proposed motion was “inappropriate, unsafe and infeasible.” While PPTFH is pleased with the city’s ultimate decision, Browning shared a feeling of dismay with the lack of communication from the city, pushing for cooperation from the community to help address the larger issue.
“Ongoing community involvement will be essential to any effective, feasible solution,” she said. “We support the development of permanent supportive housing as the long-term solution for homelessness … we would like to consider local housing solutions, if the Palisades community is willing to shape and oversee them with us.”
Director of Housing Partnerships for People Assisting The Homeless Marissa Bowman later joined the conversation to speak about an initiative, LeaseUp Los Angeles. She explained that property owners and managers can’t rely on rental income, as numerous Angelenos are struggling to pay rent. The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened that.
LeaseUp matches property owners and managers who have vacant units with unhoused neighbors who are ready to rent, offering benefits and stability to landlords, and providing housing for those who need it.
Bowman said there are currently three or four participating property owners on the Westside providing units in Beverly Hills and Venice. She said PATH is looking to make 16,000 units available in LA over the next couple of years.
“We’re about four months in, we’ve leased about 264 in the last few months,” Bowman explained. “We’re looking to LeaseUp 2,000. That’s why I’m very happy to be here to spread this information. Our team is working very diligently … we’ve leased over 2,000 people since we began.”
Bowman said units are advertised on their website, and participants or eligible renters work with their case managers to sit down and overview PATH’s screening criteria before deciding if they are a match. They then reach out to a PATH specialist and set up a viewing; property managers decide who qualifies based off the screening.
“When we start the relationship, we ask [property] owners, ‘What is your screening criteria? How do you screen tenants?’” Bowman explained. “And they tell us, and we explain the program … and if they want to become a preferred owner, they will expand their screening criteria. They will say, ‘I will give you a few units, and I won’t be looking at credit … We will run a background check,’ for example. It’s whatever the owner’s screening criteria is.”
She shared there is a waitlist and hundreds of rent-ready clients right now.
“If you are ever wondering the time or wanted to help, this is a great time and great opportunity,” Bowman concluded. “There is a lot of support in LA County for owners and a lot of people needed. Together we can solve some of the crisis, ultimately.”
PPTFH invited community members to attend its next meeting, slated for Monday, November 15, at 7 p.m.
To learn more or get involved, visit leaseupla.org.
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