SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition
We are a neighborhood-level movement responding to homelessness in a proactive, compassionate, and effective way.
SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition is a coalition of neighborhood organizers who recognize unhoused individuals as fellow members of our community worthy of the same dignity, respect and representation afforded to any housed person. We seek to expand that understanding to other members of our community while building relationships with our unhoused neighbors to better understand their unique needs, situations and struggles. Our goal is to ensure these oft-forgotten individuals have access to as much community support and political recognition as possible. We hope to accomplish this through material aid, connection to existing services and policy advocacy. Where other homelessness organizations are focused on the big picture goal of reducing homelessness on the city, county and state level, our work occurs on the neighborhood, encampment and individual level. This allows us to provide detailed, sustained and relationship-driven support to our unhoused neighbors while providing vital firsthand on-the-ground information to representatives of the city, county and larger non-profit organizations. Our goal is not to end homelessness, but to develop a model for creating a safe, engaged community to support unhoused neighbors as they navigate their own individual path out of it.
What We Do
In line with SELAH's mission of responding to homelessness in a proactive, compassionate, and effective way, our group does the following things:
-Engagements with our neighbors experiencing homelessness to offer resources and advocate for them with our service providers who are often overwhelmed
-Partner with two local churches to offer showers four days a week, meals three days a week, and case management two days a week.
-Meet with our elected representatives to voice concerns and offer solutions
-Host community education and activity events around homelessness (including trainings, hygiene kit/clothing drives)
-Produce brochures with resources for those experiencing homelessness and for the community at large Research and advocate for policies that support our mission
-Research, propose and execute on-the-ground solutions to serve acute and/or emergency needs (like meals and showers)
-Build bridges with other community groups working towards these same goals
Where We Started
SELAH was founded on May 5th, 2017, over many cups of coffee and after a months-long deep dive to see how our city and our community were responding to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. Our goal was to take an active, compassionate, solutions-oriented approach to helping our neighbors. The SELAH launch party was held on May 22nd, where we invited homeless activists, nonprofits, local service providers, elected officials, and eager volunteers to meet up and commit to be being part of the solution to this crisis.
Our first official event took place May 27 where the passionate and long-time activist Rebecca Prine from Recycled Resources provided our group of 20+ volunteers with four-hour homeless engagement training. We learned the root causes of homelessness, some of the services that are available, and we left equipped us with the best strategies for engagement. With that, we finally hit the streets on Saturday, June 10, for our first engagement day, with 10 volunteers going to bridges, alleys, parks, and encampments throughout our combined neighborhoods. Our volunteers handed out water, hygiene kits, and newly-created pamphlets (printed with funding from the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council) letting homeless individuals know where they could receive services such as meals, showers, and beds.
Since our first engagement day, we’ve been meeting every first and third Saturday, convening outside the Echo Park Lake Boathouse Café at 9 am, and doing our engagement until 11 am. A big step for our movement too place in August, when for the first time outreach teams from People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) and Homeless Healthcare LA agreed to go out into SELAH territory and perform outreach, using notes from our engagements and specifically looking to help people we’ve identified. The work of our volunteers has the immediate effect of improving someone’s day as well as increasing their long-term prospects of potentially finding a home.
Our ability to help homeless folks in our neighborhood is increasing by the day. Please join us. There are many ways to help, from going out on engagement days, to donating supplies, and rallying support for projects in your neighborhood.