O'Farrell Hosts City’s First Poverty Summit

  ·  Los Feliz Ledger   ·  Link to Article

LOS ANGELES—Local City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and the city’s Housing and Community Investment Dept. (HCID) today is holding the city’s first ever Poverty Prevention Summit to discuss ways to address the city’s growing income inequality and stymie its ever worsening homelessness crisis.  

“My goal for leading this summit is to lift people out of poverty and prevent them from falling into homelessness,” O’Farrell said in a statment. “We are bringing people together today who don’t regularly collaborate on addressing the fundamentals of poverty. I am grateful to all who are providing their expertise and insight on how we can help people thrive instead of just exist at the margins.”

The daylong event brings homeless service providers, business leaders, employers and educational institutions together to discuss long-term solutions to chronic poverty in Los Angeles.

“Not everyone living in poverty is homeless, but everyone who lives in poverty is at-risk of becoming homeless,” said HCID General Manager Rushmore D. Cervantes in a statement. 

According to Cervantes, the outcomes of the summit will directly influence policy recommendations for the City Council and its O’Farrell-chaired Homelessness and Poverty Committee. 

Speakers include Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries—a nonprofit youth program that provides high-risk youth, former gang members and the recently incarcerated with job training, legal services and mental health counseling among other services—California State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti among others. 

Also speaking at the event are several “storytellers,” people with lived experience of poverty in the city who will share their stories of how it has impacted them. 

“Growing up in poverty in a single mother household was a struggle,” said one storyteller, Adriana Aguilar. “Not knowing where our next meal would come from, leading me to become a single mother at the age of 16. Having experienced homelessness and drug addictions broke me. But today I am recovered thanks to community support and agencies who supported and helped me. Everything is possible with support.”