LOS ANGELES — Making his bed is something Bennie Redhouse never takes for granted.
“It’s nice to make a bed now,” he said.
Until recently, he didn’t have one. He was living on the streets of Glendale. He’s one of the people who moved into the first Native American housing in Los Angeles. He now has his own room that is now decorated, too.
Many of the items he has in his room, like a plastic Dodger hat that once contained nachos, remind him of the good times he’s had lately. Having his own place also means he has a place to display a picture of his beloved parents, something he couldn’t do on the streets.
Redhouse also has his own bathroom, something he said he hasn’t had in years.
“Now I get to take a shower and stuff and be clean like every day,” he said.
United American Indian Involvement leased the 30-unit apartment complex in South Los Angeles. Joseph Quintana is the vice president of development at United American Indian Involvement.
He said the goal is to house Native Americans experiencing some type of homelessness, giving them a safe place to live and focus on their wellness and job skills development.
Quintana said UAII is making sure the residents “have stability for their lives, both for their families and for themselves.”
For Quintana, housing instability hits close to home because he spent much of his life as a child living in motels on skid row with his family.
“Downtown Los Angeles used to look very different, there was low income housing, so many American Indian families lived in the skid row area, there you could get a room for rent for a couple hundred dollars and I used to sleep on the floor beside my great grandmother,” said Quintana.
Now he’s helping make sure others like Redhouse have a safe place to call home. As he looks at his room, Redhouse said he’ll “never, never take it for granted,” and hopes this is a place where he can rebuild his life.