As of June 28th 2022, 5,567 people living in encampments were contacted by an outreach worker within the last 90 days. (LAHSA, “County Priority and City of LA Roadmap Encampments”) If you live in Los Angeles area, chances are that you’ve already come across some of these encampments on your way to work, on the drive to your local grocery store or just on a walk around the neighborhood.
Although living in a temporary encampment, these folks experiencing homelessness make up a very tiny fraction of the total unsheltered population of Los Angeles County. Out of the 54,291 total people without a home in 2020, only 10,786 were able to find shelter, while 43,505 people remained unsheltered. (LAHSA, “2020 Homeless Count By Community/City”)
(LAHSA, “2020 Homeless Count By Community/City”)
Recently, the City of LA has agreed to provide 60% of people experiencing homelessness in the city with permanent beds over the next five years, but only to those who “do not have a serious mental illness and are not chronically homeless with a substance use disorder or chronic physical illness”. (Maxouris) This already disqualifies 14,125 unhoused people with serious mental illnesses in 2020 (LAHSA, “2020 Homeless Count By Supervisorial District”), leaving them without an important resource. That is 26% of the total number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles county!
Within the resources that do exist for members of the county’s unsheltered population, the services providing Free Meals are only operational on certain days of the week and most close around noon, except for a handful open until 7 pm on specific days of the week. (LAHSA, “Community Resource List by SPA”) So, there is little to no support available at night and access to these is also limited for those with chronic illnesses or physical disabilities.
(LAHSA, “2020 Homeless Count By Supervisorial District”)
Over the past two years, thanks to the support from all our amazing volunteers and donors, The Good Karma Los Angeles has been able to serve 40k meals, 80k water bottles and many other resources such as snacks, socks, blankets etc to our unhoused community within Los Angeles!
Most of these efforts were limited to Skid Row because of our limited mobility, but Downtown’s unhoused community only makes up 12% of the total 2020 count of LA county's numbers (LAHSA, “2020 Homeless Count By Community/City”). To increase our outreach to other cities, we NEED to become mobile and get permits to legally cook and serve the food.
With your help, we can make these resources accessible to so many more communities within Los Angeles and offer extended hours of availability!
(LAHSA, “2020 Homeless Count By City Council District”)
Meet Karma, a Mobile Community Kitchen, and a food delivery truck in the works.
The MISSION for Karma will be to deliver food on the streets at night when all the LA City & LA County food banks & shelters are closed and, in pockets of areas without enough resources.
We need a TOTAL of $60,000 to get build our Community Kitchen on the wheels and whatever you can donate will help us get started on this goal.
Support our current fundraiser by donating to the GoFundMe campaign and sharing through your social media. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause!
Stay connected with us on Instagram.
LAHSA. “2020 Homeless Count By City Council District.” LAHSA, 28 June 2022, www.lahsa.org/data?id=44-2020-homeless-county-by-city-council-district.
---. “2020 Homeless Count By Community/City.” LAHSA, 28 June 2022, www.lahsa.org/data?id=45-2020-homeless-count-by-community-city.
---. “2020 Homeless Count By Supervisorial District.” LAHSA, 28 June 2022, www.lahsa.org/data?id=43-2020-homeless-count-by-supervisorial-district.
---. “Community Resource List by SPA.” LAHSA, 20 Feb. 2020, www.lahsa.org/documents?id=3622-community-resource-list-by-spa.pdf.
---. “County Priority and City of LA Roadmap Encampments.” LAHSA, 28 June 2022, app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYjc0ZjVmMTctMzFmYi00MjY5LWI0YjUtMzBlMTBjMzNkMDUyIiwidCI6IjBiYWU1NDliLTUyZDgtNGEzYi1hYTE5LWQ1MDY2MmIzMDg5NyIsImMiOjZ9&pageName=ReportSection.
Maxouris, Stella Cnn Chan And Christina. “City of Los Angeles Agrees to Provide Thousands of Beds to Settle Lawsuit Regarding the Homelessness Crisis.” CNN, 1 Apr. 2022, edition.cnn.com/2022/04/01/us/los-angeles-homeless-population-settlement/index.html.
Q: HOW OFTEN ARE VOLUNTEERING EVENTS HELD?
A: Our Meal Delivery Sundays occur every weekend on Sunday.
Q: HOW LONG DOES A TYPICAL VOLUNTEERING EVENT LAST?
A: Typical TGKLA volunteering events last about 2-3 hours. Our Meal Delivery Sundays last from 12pm-3pm.
Q: DO I NEED TO REGISTER IN ADVANCE TO VOLUNTEER OR CAN I SIMPLY SHOW UP?
A: You are required to register to volunteer. Head over to www.thegoodkarmala.org and hit the Volunteer button on our menu. On this page, you can see our calendar of events and there is a Google forms sign up sheet that you fill out.
Pick your date, fill out the form and you're done. We'll be in contact shortly to get you all set up.
Q: CAN I BRING A FRIEND WITH ME?
A: Of course you can! Make sure you both sign up for the same volunteer day.
Q: WHEN AND WHERE DO WE MEET UP?
A: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are limited to a small group of volunteers every week. To ensure that we do our part, volunteers who signed up will receive updated times and meet up locations through a private group chat.
This allows us to control the number of volunteers while preventing large amounts of people from showing up without going through the proper sign-up procedure.
Q: WHERE CAN I PARK?
A: Parking downtown is free on Sundays so you'll have no issue finding a spot. Our meet up location will be given to you in our private group chat before the day.
Q: WHAT IS THE GOAL WHEN VOLUNTEERING, WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO ACHIEVE?
A: Our ultimate goal is to assist and support our unhoused community through community outreach, rehabilitation services, and educational initiatives. It's a tall order so we are focusing on providing the most effective olive branch and the most important first step, delivering meals.
Our ultimate goal takes time and patience. Volunteer events are designed to step into their day-to-day, establish TGKLA as a support system and build community bonds that will allow us to do more, with their help and their trust.
Q: I'VE NEVER BEEN TO SKID ROW. IS IT SCARY?
A: The highest population of our homeless community is located in Skid Row, so you will see some interesting things.
Drug use, abuse, trash scattered across street, and poverty at its core. Most people we meet love us and are thankful for what we provide without any issues, however, you will encounter some who do not want/need help.
TGKLA is not there to judge nor to change anyone; we are there to serve and we do so with your safety as a priority. Organized formations, trained and tested leadership, and strict Firefighter and Military standard procedures are set to ensure control in any situation.
Q: HOW DO I HANDLE "UNSAFE OR UNCOMFORTABLE" SITUATIONS WHILE VOLUNTEERING?
A: If you see an unsafe act, the best option is to call 911. You will very rarely be in the center of any situation due to our strict guidelines and procedures but if you do feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please let our leadership on-site know and they can switch up roles or step in to create a safer environment for you.
Q: WILL COVID-19 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS BE TAKEN?
A: Absolutely. To adhere to the Covid-19 safety regulations, we have limited the number of volunteers to a small group of 10 every event.
We are also practicing social distancing at 6-foot intervals during our introductions, briefings, and post-event meetings. TGKLA is dedicated to flattening the curve and providing safety at all times.
Q: IS PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT PROVIDED FOR VOLUNTEERS?
A: TGKLA will be providing the following protective gear for your safety
Q: WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
A: Plan your outfit around warm weather and outdoor activities. This means activewear bottoms, leggings, shorts, or pants that breathe and shoes designed for walking or running (we do a lot of walking).
TGKLA shirts will be provided the day of so as long as you're comfortable and dressed for a day of sweats, smiles and hard work, you'll be set.
Q: IS THERE ANYPLACE FOR ME TO KEEP MY PERSONAL ITEMS WHILE VOLUNTEERING?
We'd recommend anything that isn't necessary to be safely left in your personal vehicles.
Phones, inhalers, medications, glasses, etc. that you need to take with you will be kept in a closed container in the vehicle used to deliver meals. You will have access to this container all day at your discretion.
Q: WILL FOOD AND WATER BE PROVIDED THROUGHOUT THE DAY?
A: Hydration is a huge concern for us. In the excitement of the moment, it's easy to forget to drink water. We have set up mandatory hydration breaks during the day to ensure you're drinking plenty of water.
As far as food goes, we'd recommend you to eat before arriving. We try to keep a tight schedule to maximize our efforts in the short time we have, but we are discussing a provided meal for volunteers soon.
Q: CAN I TAKE PHOTOS AND/OR POST TO SOCIAL MEDIA?
A: As we are there to serve, we do understand the positive impact photos or posts can make in the efforts of TGKLA awareness.
We ask that you only take photos before and after the event (we will have a media team present). This allows us to focus on the task ahead and complete our mission for the day.
For posts, feel free to share your experience as a volunteer and don't forget to tag @thegoodkarmala and include the hashtag #thegoodkarmalosangeles
Q: WHAT SHOULD I SAY WHEN SOMEONE ASKS ME WHAT WE ARE DOING AT A VOLUNTEER SITE?
A: You are our advocates for TGKLA. As a valued member of the volunteer team, we'd love you to respond with:
"We are with The Good Karma Los Angeles. Today is Meal Delivery Sundays and we're providing meals, water, and necessary supplies to our unhoused neighbors."