Open Collective
Open Collective
A Virtual Tour of our November Resource Center!
Published on November 20, 2022 by Bitta Sharma

We hosted our monthly Resource Center on Saturday and were able to connect 43 guests to valuable resources and supplies. It was great to see old friends and welcome new guests, volunteers, and service providers. Together with collectives across the Westside, we are expanding and deepening our mutual aid network to fight against the ongoing banishment and erasure of unhoused neighbors.

When we first arrive at the Resource Center, we're welcomed by the Guest Check-In Team, where we can sign up for showers, get a lay of the land, and store items in the concierge area.
Before continuing our tour, let's charge our phone and other devices! Charging stations are few and far between on the street, and having a working phone is a necessity - not just to stay in touch with friends and family, but also to make important appointments and reach service providers.
Next up, showers! Check out this amazing set-up by Dignity on Wheels! Showers & laundry service are a key part of the monthly Resource Center, and there are always some guests who aren't able to get this service. We'd love to add a second truck to make sure everyone gets a shower.
After getting a nice, hot shower, we can check in with Humanity Resources for a fresh cut! Anyone who's been to a hairstylist knows there's a lot more to having your hair done than getting a cut. At this station, we get to have a meaningful conversation, feel human touch, and reinvent ourselves. It's always a favorite stop!
It's lunchtime! We're so thankful to Noah from Universal Human Rights Initiative (UHRI) who prepares delicious rice and bean bowls from scratch, with toppings galore. Noah's food is always healthy, and always a hit.
After enjoying a delicious lunch and pumpkin pie for dessert, we can make an appointment for legal help. Our City employs a "vast repertoire of municipal tools that criminalize the unhoused," so many of our guests are in need of legal aid. Huge thanks to Bet Tzedek Legal Services for hosting a clinic at the Resource Center to help clients navigate the myriad legal issues that throw them off their path to housing.

We can then head over to the LA County Registrar to obtain a copy of our birth certificate. Guests face brutal, unrelenting encampment sweeps in every corner of the City. These sweeps are traumatic and usually result in the loss of important belongings like family heirlooms and birth certificates. The Registrar helps folks get new birth certificates so they aren't blocked from critical services.   
It's clear that mental health services fall far short across the County. People living on the street are especially vulnerable to mental health issues that are addressed with criminalization instead of treatment. We're grateful to the Department of Mental Health for taking time out of their busy schedule to work with us.
Food insecurity is also rampant in LA County, with nearly a quarter of households going hungry in 2022. Our food systems are totally inadequate, but food stamps are a basic support that our unhoused neighbors can usually rely on. Thanks to Hunger Action LA for showing up every single month to sign folks up for Cal-Fresh benefits!
One of the highlights of our Saturday event was the addition of a bicycle distribution and repair space thanks to new service provider Walk 'n Rollers. Many people experiencing homelessness rely almost exclusively on cycling for transportation, so having a working bike and tools to fix it are super important. Also, shedding light on this service is one way to combat the City's ongoing effort to criminalize bikes and bike repair in the unhoused community.   
What sets the LAN4N Resource Center apart? We think it's the sense of community we foster every month by offering more than services. We can lounge in the "Chill Space" built with love by Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid, do an art project, or take a moment to read selections from the ACAB Library from South Bay Mutual Aid Care Club. The Resource Center is a place for everyone to relax, reconnect and feed the soul. Furry friends are welcome, and we're always open to new community-building ideas!
Next, we can make our way to the UCLA Homeless Healthcare Collaborative booth. UCLA's street medicine van has been a crucial addition to our monthly Resource Center, and they also help unhoused neighbors in need of medical care between events. We're so thankful to know this wonderful team.
We can always count on getting a new hygiene pack from our friends at Housing MV. The team of HMV volunteers puts together these great packs every week, and also hosts a weekly table at the Venice and Globe encampment (under the 405).
Many of our guests (like housed people) suffer from harmful effects of drug use. But instead of minimizing those harmful effects, our systems tend to ignore, condemn or criminalize them. We're thankful to be joined by ClareMatrix, which offers harm reduction supplies at the Resource Center to support safer use.

Next we'll stop by the clothing station to see what's on offer. Volunteers take time to sort and organize clothing donations every month so that we always have a supply. With winter around the corner, we may do another coat drive. Last year, we raised $1,400 to purchase 40 warm winter coats for our guests - stay tuned for another drive!   
And what about all those special items that guests need but can't find at the other booths? We've got you covered - just stop by our Special Requests table! If you don't find what you need, let us know and we'll try to bring it next month.
Many thanks to our team of 45+ dedicated volunteers who helped us pull off this event. We are also so thankful for our donors, whose contributions help us to be able to continue putting on the resource center. If you'd like to volunteer for our next resource center on December 17th in Mar Vista, you sign up through this link.

Special thanks to all of our service providers:
Art, music, + chill space by Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid
Bike distribution & repair by Walk 'n Rollers
Calfresh Sign-ups by Hunger Action LA
Legal Clinic by Bet Tzedek Legal Services
Library by ACAB Library with South Bay Mutual Aid Care Club
Hairdresser by Humanity Resources
Harm Reduction from ClareMatrix
Hygiene Kits from Housing MV
Meals by Noah with Universal Human Rights Initiative, funded by Free Food Collective
Medical help by UCLA Homeless Healthcare Collaborative
Mental Health Services from the Department of Mental Health
Showers & laundry by Dignity on Wheels
Social Services from Latino Resource Organization
Toilets & Hand wash stations provided by CD11
Venue provided by Saint Bede's Episcopal Church
Vital Records by LA County Registrar/Recorder