May 13, 2011

Jake Maguire's picture Posted By Jake Maguire

One Year after Registry Week, Hollywood Shares Stories of Success

Hollywood may be famous for wealth and glamor, but it's also home to a surprising number of homeless people. Last Thursday, Hollywood4WRD held a community event to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hollywood Registry Week and the effort to bring Hollywood's homeless inside.

What a difference a year can make!

Since last April, Hollywood4WRD has housed 35 people with 25 more in the pipeline. They've also seen the development of two new, local supportive housing complexes and have successfully leveraged their Registry Week data to win nearly $800,000 in grant money from the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Fannie Mae, and Los Angeles County!

Hollywood4WRD began in 2008, when representatives of the Hollywood business community, in conjunction with local government officials, social service providers, the non-profit sector and the faith community began meeting on a monthly basis to discuss a shared commitment to ending homelessness. The group, whose name stands for 4 Walls, a Roof and a Door aims to end homeless in Hollywood by 2018.

Organizers say their success over the last year demonstrates what they call the "Gravitational Pull Theory."

"The gravitational pull of the human lives revealed in the Homeless Registry attracts critical forces necessary to end homelessness," states one of the group's key vision documents.

In other words, the best way for communities to address a perceived lack of resources is to develop the clearest possible picture of who they're serving and what they need.

The Hollywood4WRD event featured video and in-person success stories from several of the 35 people that have moved into housing in the last year and raised high hopes for more than 25 others currently in the housing pipeline. Organizers also enjoyed a huge outpouring of support from local leaders in the business, government, and non-profit sectors, including LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and City Council President Eric Garcetti.

"The only way to end homelessness is to all be part of the same team," Yaroslavsky told the gathered crowd. "The same thing that's working to house 35 people in Hollywood can work to house 4,500 people in L.A."

Helmut Hermann, a formerly homeless man who moved into a permanent apartment earlier this year, agreed. "When I was homeless, many people brought me sandwiches," explained Helmann, before saying that only the Hollywood4WRD project helped him get off the streets and into housing.

The event also highlighted opportunities for collaboration within L.A.'s emerging regional approach to ending homelessness. That approach includes organizations like the Campaign as well as major initiatives like Home For Good, L.A. County's bold plan to end chronic and veterans homelessness by 2015.

"Homelessness doesn't respect city or county boundaries," said Zaroslavsky, an early Home for Good supporter. "We need to leave our egos at the door."

That vision is already helping to end Los Angeles' reign as the homelessness capital of America.