RAMPART VILLAGE, Calif. — For the past seven years, on and off, Chris Robinson has been trying to find his way back into housing.
“There’s so many little things that you take for granted when you have housing, a car and that you find yourself with what you don’t have, which I had my whole life. It is different, but when you don’t have a car or you’re not renting a car, it’s an issue,” Robinson said.
What You Need To Know
- Seventy painted squares create tent encampment in Rampart Village
- The site has 24/7 security, case management, provides three meals per day, mobile shower services and more
- The pilot site costs the city about $2,600 per person, per month
- Councilman Mitch O'Farrell plans to build 454-units of permanent housing in the future on the same site
Robinson was one of the first individuals to move into the Madison Safe Sleep Village where 70 spaces have been outlined with white paint for tents in a secured Rampart Village lot.
“It’s been great. It is nice to meet new people, get some people that were concerned or that were in danger or maybe do not feel safe out there. This is a safe place,” Robinson said.
Urban Alchemy, a nonprofit homelessness services provider, manages the site. It connects individuals, like Robinson, on-site with charging stations, a mobile shower five days a week, three meals per day, mental health services, case management and more.
The services come with a hefty price tag to the city of about $2,600 per person, per month.
Wanda Williams, who previously faced homelessness, is the director of the site and shared that the interim housing model meets people where they are.
“We’ve seen a whole lot of models of housing and this is just a step. Of course, I was inside when I was in a shelter, but most of these people want to live outside. So, I feel as though this is a great step to get people off the street and into places of civilized living,” Williams said.
The site is located in Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s 13th district.
"I am proud to be piloting the first City-managed Safe Sleep Village, one of the many comprehensive housing solutions I've successfully brought online in the 13th District. Safe Sleep Village is an investment in people, and represents a partnership between my office, the private property owner, and the dedicated team at Urban Alchemy. Many of Urban Alchemy's practitioners have lived experience with homelessness or incarceration. Safe Sleep Village provides people experiencing homelessness with a safe, secure environment, managed by caring professionals, and is a humane and thoughtful way to connect unhoused individuals to resources and, ultimately, permanent housing. Currently, the Safe Sleep Village is at full capacity - which clearly reflects that this is a service that is needed, and a program that works. I am also looking forward to the future permanent supporting housing project that will be built on this site, which will bring up to 454 units of housing to those who need it the most," O'Farrell said in a statement.
For Robinson, it has been an opportunity to look toward the future.
“I noticed that my nails, I don’t have the dirt underneath them and that’s a pure sign of being outside, seems like, for me,” Robinson said.
While the secured lot might look similar to a regular encampment, the site is bringing back hope for Robinson when it comes to getting the services he needs to get back into housing.