WEST HOLLYWOOD—The West Hollywood City Council revealed during their Study Session on Homelessness on February 5 that ‘Real Change’ Donation Stations will pop up throughout the region. In January 2018, the city launched the Donation Station program. The panel of consisted of experts in outreach to people who are homeless; social service delivery; safety and law enforcement; public policy and advocacy; and funding related to Los Angeles County Measure H, which is expected to generate millions of dollars annually for services to combat homelessness across Los Angeles County.

“Our Study Session on Homelessness highlighted our approach of working with both social service agencies and law enforcement to address the issue in a collaborative fashion,” said West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman. “Homelessness is an urgent issue throughout the County and it won’t be solved overnight. We need to expand the capacity of shelters, create more supportive housing for those with mental health issues, and continue to increase our efforts to ensure public safety.”

According to a press release from the city of West Hollywood, a three-minute Public Service Announcement (PSA) video that focuses on the city of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative was presented telling the story of Jake Weinraub, Mental Health Clinician for the LA LGBT Center, who works to conduct coordinated outreach to help people who are homeless with a continuum of services and programs. The PSA video is available on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/JTa4e9R8-SI.

“There are four Donation Stations presently, and, if the program is successful, perhaps we can add more throughout the City,” said Councilmember Lauren Meister. “Folks can feel good about feeding these meters because the funds collected will go towards the City’s Homeless Initiative. It’s a great way for community members to support the City’s outreach efforts and services to assist people who are experiencing homelessness.”

Donation Stations at four key locations are similar to parking meters, but they have bright purple domes and blue-and-yellow signage. The Donation Stations offer basic information about the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative and accept both coin and credit card contributions. They are located at:

-West Hollywood Gateway (La Brea Avenue);

-Plummer Park (adjacent to tennis courts);

-Santa Monica Boulevard at Robertson Boulevard; and

-West Hollywood Park

The Homeless Initiative aims to address homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response by providing outreach and services at the West Hollywood Library as a strategic collaboration between the city of West Hollywood, the County of Los Angeles Public Library, and contracted social services provider organizations. Organizations include Ascencia, Step Up on Second, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Safe Refuge, Friends Community Center, and Tarzana Treatment Centers. The organizations provide on-site weekday outreach hours at the West Hollywood Library, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

To heighten awareness about the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative and to assist local businesses, residents, and community members with information and resources, the city is allocating new informational materials. “Homeless Not Hopeless” cards contain detailed contact information for community members who have concerns or who are being impacted and “Help Is Within Reach” pocket guides are being used by outreach teams to help people who are homeless to access resources. Residents concerned about a community member who is homeless, can call the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative Concern Line at (323) 848-6590. If the concern requires time-sensitive assistance during nights or weekends, call the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850. For life-threatening emergencies or criminal activity, call 911.

For additional information about the West Hollywood Homeless Initiative, visit www.weho.org/homeless. For additional details, contact Corri Planck, city of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative Program Manager, at (323) 848-6430 or at cplanck@weho.org. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, call TTY (323) 848-6496.