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The Mayor is “Talking Loud and Saying Nothing.” Why can’t Garcetti talk to Black people in Skid Row?

In an email dated Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 9:01 AM to Kirkpatrick Tyler, Director of Skid Row Strategy for Mayor Eric Garcetti, Monique Noel wrote:

Dear Mr. Tyler,

Thank you for connecting me with staff from the Downtown Women’s Center. I emailed you, as the Mayor’s Representative, in charge of the Skid Row initiative, to understand how many spaces were available and link unhoused women, desperately in need of safe housing in Skid Row, to Project 100.

Since connecting with DWC many challenges have come to light, namely, explicit and implicit criteria that effectively bar entry to the most vulnerable women in our community, women who need assistance the most.  It is my understanding that to be eligible for Project 100 applicants must be: a) unhoused; b) a woman in Skid Row and; c) have income or actively seek employment. Additionally, it appears consideration will only be given to applicants in possession of a working cell phone.

We told a significant number of women about this program as you and your colleagues informed us there are still open spaces and encouraged us to refer names. Now, the integrity we hold as an organization is being compromised amongst our constituents as the service providers for this program have largely been unable to make contact with the women that we provided information for, due to them not having phones.

There is no way, in this day and age, when combining the houseless crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, that the only women who can be served are those with an income and those in possession of a working cell phone. That is discriminatory on its face and follows a pattern of other race and class issues highlighted in the LAHSA Black People Experiencing Homelessness Committee.

Based on my experience in attempting to connect arguably the most vulnerable women in Skid Row to this program, Project 100 must be modified to include onsite face-face outreach and assessment. It should be common knowledge to those serving the Skid Row community, that most unhoused residents do not have WiFi, working cell phones (with sufficient data), electronic devices, or electricity. There is no way to place women without meeting them where they are.

It is my hope that organizations in possession of contracts for these types of services would make an investment into outreach strategies that ultimately meet the needs of women and match them to housing. Perhaps this includes sub-contracts for people who are willing and able to do outreach; our members are currently doing the physical groundwork to assist with intake calls.

This thread of communication has only ever been about connecting women to services who need them. Also, since Project 100 was launched in October 2019, and still has available slots, figuring out how to match women to those slots. What we continue to get however is not housing for women but more barriers to housing and more unanswered questions.

Given the aforementioned restrictions, what are the ways that women currently gain access to this program? It is also not clear why hidden criteria is in place if it continues to exclude such a large number of women, every articulation of this program was said to be geared towards providing pathways to housing for the most vulnerable women in Skid Row. Who created the criteria that continues to lock those women out?

The issues raised must urgently be addressed as Black women in particular continue to suffer as a result of these types of practices.

We want the women in our community who we’ve identified, who we work with, in the streets of Skid Row, pre and during the pandemic to gain access to housing offered by this program. We remain committed to making sure that happens and look forward to hearing your plan to accommodate vulnerable women identified by us.

Regards,
Monique

On Wed, Feb 10, 2021 around 5:14 PM, the mayor said this

We still haven’t heard anything back from his office.

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