Fight Homelessness with More Funding for Arts-Based Interventions.
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Los Angeles is facing a full-blown homeless crisis with nearly 58,000 people currently homeless in LA County. It's a statistic that has risen sharply in the last year. Our elected leaders have deemed it a "State of Emergency." It is undeniably one of the most urgent moral issues facing us today.
The crisis is a top priority for residents across the political spectrum, which is why voters stepped up this year, along with our Board of Supervisors, to pass Measures H & HHH -- providing billions of dollars in funding over the next ten years to fight for all people to have a place called home.
The lesser known story is that of the dedicated social servants across the County using the arts in powerfully effective ways in the fight to end homelessness.
This is the story of the ways that artistic expression can enhance the well-being of men and women living with mental illness -- while also serving as a bridge to other clinical and supportive services. This is the story of Piece by Piece, a social enterprise teaching mosaic artwork to homeless individuals as skills training and a therapeutic bridge to clinical supportive services. Or the Urban Voices Project and Street Symphony, building community and bringing the healing power of music to Skid Row. (See the recent New Yorker piece on their work: "Handel’s 'Messiah,' on Skid Row.") Or the wonderful arts programs at LAMP, My Friends Place and so many others...which use the arts to effectively revitalize a sense of self-worth, creative possibility and social health.
This petition is to urge the Board of Supervisors to allocate more of the funding provided by Measures H & HHH for mental health services, workforce development, and other sectors -- specifically to the arts-based interventions currently changing lives in each sector.
The current implementation plan does include some degree of support for arts-based solutions -- but knowing how effective this work is, we would like to see a significant increase in funding allocated to arts-based interventions.
These organizations are changing lives every day in powerfully humanizing ways. They help to heal homeless individuals and guide them toward healthy, productive lives, while also helping to make their lives and their humanity more visible to those who aren't on the streets. This is a crucial point:
When we invest in these approaches to healing and social inclusion, we are transforming not just our neighbors on the streets...we are also transforming ourselves by seeing their humanity before seeing their condition.
Thank you for your dedication to giving this crisis the attention it deserves. We hope you will take this moment to specifically dedicate much more of the funding provided in Measures H & HHH to the amazing social workers using the arts for healing across L.A. County.
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