SELAH was founded on May 5th, 2017, over many cups of coffee and after a months-long deep dive to see how our city and our community were responding to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.
Our goal was to take an active, compassionate, solutions-oriented approach to helping our neighbors. The SELAH launch party was held on May 22nd, where we invited homeless activists, nonprofits, local service providers, elected officials, and eager volunteers to meet up and commit to be being part of the solution to this crisis.
Our first official event took place May 27 where the passionate and long-time activist Rebecca Prine from Recycled Resources provided our group of 20+ volunteers with four-hour homeless engagement training. We learned the root causes of homelessness, some of the services that are available, and we left equipped us with the best strategies for engagement.
With that, we finally hit the streets on Saturday, June 10, for our first engagement day, with 10 volunteers going to bridges, alleys, parks, and encampments throughout our combined neighborhoods. Our volunteers handed out water, hygiene kits, and newly-created pamphlets (printed with funding from the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council) letting homeless individuals know where they could receive services such as meals, showers, and beds.
Since our first engagement day, we’ve been meeting every first and third Saturday, convening outside the Echo Park Lake Boathouse Café at 9 am, and doing our engagement until 11 am.
A big step for our movement too place in August, when for the first time outreach teams from People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) and Homeless Healthcare LA agreed to go out into SELAH territory and perform outreach, using notes from our engagements and specifically looking to help people we’ve identified. The work of our volunteers has the immediate effect of improving someone’s day as well as increasing their long-term prospects of potentially finding a home.
Very recently, Kaiser Permanente and Wesley Health Centers has expressed interested in having a patient navigator go out with our existing case management partners to help homeless individuals dealing with chronic illnesses.
Our ability to help homeless folks in our neighborhood is increasing by the day.