Wright Foundation to Host Rally this Month to Address the Growing Problem of Homelessness, and a Possible Solution for it

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On Thursday, October 20, 2016 the Wright Foundation will be hosting a rally in Grand Park LA to address the growing issue of homelessness in LA County. They will be bringing attention to the Township Option—a solution proposed by Dr. Kenneth Wright, director of the Wright Foundation, and inspired by Ted Hayes and the Dome Village.

Wright Foundation to host rally to discuss new Homeless Township Option

On Thursday, October 20, 2016 the Wright Foundation will be hosting a rally in Grand Park LA to address the growing issue of homelessness in LA County. They will be bringing attention to the Township Option—a solution proposed by Dr. Kenneth Wright, director of the Wright Foundation, and inspired by Ted Hayes and the Dome Village. The rally will take place between 12 noon-1:30 PM; lunch will be served to the local homeless community during the rally. The park is located in downtown Los Angeles, between the Music Center and City Hall; the rally will be held on the Event Lawn, which is directly across from City Hall on Spring Street. Please RSVP to Courtney Blane, foundation coordinator, at wrightcenter2020(at)gmail(dot)com.

Home for the Homeless – the Township Option
There are over 40,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County and the number is growing despite LA County budgeting over $150 million for homeless programs. The problem is these traditional programs do not work. Even long term housing projects do not address the fact that the majority of homeless require a structured environment, not just housing. Some need job training and counseling, while others will require intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Those with debilitating physical or psychological disorders require long term care. While well-intended, increasing mobile showers, easing overnight parking restrictions, soup kitchens, and street lockers are just short term measures that do not solve the homeless problem. A new approach is needed that will truly address homelessness and reduce the number of homeless people on the street.

It is time to revisit the Ted Hayes concept to build townships designed specifically for the homeless. Over 20 years ago Ted Hayes, a homeless activist founded the Dome Village for the homeless. Located in Downtown Los Angeles, it housed hundreds of homeless singles and families for over 12 years. Ted attests that the Dome Village worked and residents got along very well. Educational programs were offered including workshops on computer literacy, job- seeking, and legal issues. The Dome Village came to an end when the rent for the land was raised so high it was no longer financially viable. Ted emphasizes the importance of getting the homeless into a new environment, a community that can provide for their unique and diverse needs. He also warns that if we don’t provide this option our streets and parks will become overrun.

We propose the Township Option. This is a larger form of the Dome Village that provides a safe, nurturing community for the homeless. Mental health services, general medical services, legal services, and alcohol/drug rehabilitation will be provided. Similar to Homeboy Industries of Los Angeles, the Townships will have business and manufacturing that will provide jobs and job training. Funding will be primarily from private donors and revenue generated from Township businesses. Volunteers including veterans, retirees, and professionals can participate as an adjunct to staff. This is not an “out of sight, out of mind” program, it is a program to rehabilitate and care for our homeless. For some it will be a way to transition, while others the Township will be a place called “home”.

Biography
Kenneth W. Wright, MD is an internationally respected pediatric eye surgeon. He has experience for caring for the underprivileged and homeless as he trained at Boston City Hospital, Boston, MA, Harbor General Hospital, Torrance CA, and worked at USC - LA County General Hospital for well over 10 years. In 2001, Dr. Wright founded the non-profit Wright Foundation that supports pediatric eye clinic for underprivileged children.

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Courtney Blane