In May, LFIA was happy to co-host, along with Councilmember David Ryu’s office and the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, a screening of The Advocates. The movie, from Cinema Libre Studios (http://cinemalibrestudio.com/the-advocates/), is an inside look at the realities of people currently experiencing homelessness and those who advocate for them.
The panel discussion that followed, which included director Remi Kessler, homeless advocate Mel Tillekeratne and Ryu, got us thinking about our community response to the homelessness crisis and LFIA’s role in working towards a solution.
Councilmember Ryu signaled that, though he opposed SB827 and SB50, “we can’t say no to everything” and must work to find the appropriate compromises that will make more affordable housing possible in our district.
Ryu noted that while our community frequently agrees on values surrounding housing affordability, the homelessness crisis, and income inequality, we have become polarized by focusing on the areas where we are not in agreement. We (individually and in groups) will achieve more by working together strategically on our shared values.
Homeless advocate Tillekeratne (Director of Monday Night Mission and The Shower of Hope) said residents and groups like LFIA need to mobilize and call for more (30–40%) affordable housing units to be put in every building that is proposed to us by developers. Too much is being given away to developers without adequate affordable units being added. Neighborhood groups are on the front lines of development review and can take a stance on this issue to get political attention prior to projects being approved.
Cat Kim, moderator for the discussion, called on the community to continue the housing dialogue and allow controversial and difficult questions and ideas to be raised in order to find local solutions to the housing crisis.
As the advocacy group for all residents of Los Feliz—including renters, homeowners, and those currently experiencing homelessness—LFIA is grappling with where we fit into these calls for action and what principles our organization shares with allies like Councilmember Ryu, LFNC, etc. It’s vitally important that we understand the values of the community and cooperate with our local partners to set and make progress toward tangible goals.
LFIA will continue to advocate for the community and we’d like as many voices as possible to be part of the conversation on housing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts, and stay tuned for a small group discussion on how our community will continue to respond to the growing crisis.
A version of this column appeared in the Los Feliz Ledger in July 2019.