streets of shame

‘I Get a Chance at My Life Back': Formerly Homeless Man Finds Home in Lancaster

A housing specialist is helping LA's homeless population find a place to rest their heads for good.

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Kevin McBride was living in a motel-turned temporary housing for homeless people in the North Hills area of LA during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now he's grateful to be living in a one bedroom apartment in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, even if it is far from where he would've liked to call home.

"I can't complain. I really can't complain," he said. "I'd take anything. The fact this is offered is amazing."

"I'm a Valley guy."

So moving to Lancaster was a culture shock.

It's an issue that comes as the Weingart Center in Skid Row celebrated the ground breaking Tuesday of its new 278-unit, Weingart Tower One.

"Wherever you come into the system, we plan to be able to serve you," said Kevin Murray, the Weingart Center CEO.

Proponents see the perfection in bringing in people off the streets in Skid Row and into permanent, supportive housing nearby. But for far more people across LA County, they're finding a limited housing supply is pushing them outside city limits.

"So do you get people who will say no to a place?" Ricardo Salazar, a Hope of the Valley housing specialist. "Yes, we have plenty of clients who deny housing just because they don't like the area."

As a housing specialist, Salazar helps LA's homeless population find a place to rest their heads for good. He says the need for more options in more places is part of what's keeping some from accepting help.

McBride was an anomaly.

"He's one of our clients that was just willing to move," Salazar said. "He just wanted to be housed. So he was really happy to just be under a roof."

But McBride says he didn't feel like he had many options because his housing voucher is part of the federal CARES Act and he says it required him to accept a place only in unincorporated LA County.

He knows it's not ideal to what he's familiar with, where he lived his whole life in the San Fernando Valley, but he says he's willing to accept it, with hope he can move when his one-year lease is up.

"I get a chance at my life back," he said.

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