By T.A. Hendrickson
Union Station Homeless Services, the nonprofit that will administer Eagle Rock’s pallet shelter community for the homeless, has released details about the upcoming Zoom meeting to discuss the project.
The meeting — on Wednesday, July 14, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. — will be hosted by Union Station in partnership with City Councilmember Kevin de León (CD 14). If you have not yet registered, you can register for the meeting here. If you have already registered, please note that the start time is 6 p.m. (An earlier registration form gave a 7 p.m. start time.)
Five expert panelists will attend the meeting: Anne Miskey, CEO of Union Station and Shawn Morrissey, Senior Director of Advocacy for Union Station; De León; Ken Craft, CEO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission (which will administer the pallet shelter community under construction in Highland Park); and Jane Demian, co-chair of the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition for Eagle Rock and Highland Park.
The experts will explore who is experiencing homelessness in Eagle Rock and what is being done to address homelessness in the neighborhood; the experts will also take questions from community members, according to a press release from Union Station.
The goal “is to dispel myths and misconceptions about homelessness and promote a culture of inclusion and community in support of housing solutions in the community,” according to the press release.
The plan for a 48-unit pallet shelter community in Eagle Rock — to be located in the overflow parking lot of the Eagle Rock Recreation Center on Figueroa Street — was approved recently by the Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP). The shelters, intended as a temporary bridge to permanent housing, measure 64 square feet and include fold down beds, HVAC, windows, shelves and a locking door. The shelter site also includes facilities for showers, sanitation, laundry and storage, as well as on-site services, including meals and social services to help the occupants transition to permanent housing.
On social media and in the public online meeting that preceded the approval of the Eagle Rock site by RAP, questions that have been raised include the process for selecting occupants for the pallet shelter community, security and maintenance for the site, and procedures to address apparent addiction and mental health problems among the homeless. Questioners have also asked where permanent housing for the homeless will come from so that successful transitions to long-term housing are possible.
In the press release announcing the July 14 meeting, Union Station CEO Miskey said, “We are proud to be part of the efforts in Eagle Rock to address the issue of homelessness in the community. Pallet shelters can be part of the solution to promote a culture of inclusion and community in support of affordable housing solutions.”
De León commented: “As homelessness continues to confront Los Angeles, we are encouraged by neighborhood dialogues that seek community-based solutions. We look forward to providing residents with the honest information they need to support sound projects that will reverse this humanitarian crisis.”
Bill Hendrickson, MBA, publisher of the Boulevard Sentinel, has extensive small business management, marketing and sales experience in corporate finance and real estate development and plays a not terrible game of golf.