Kevin McBride lived in temporary housing for the homeless in the North Hills area of LA at a motel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now he’s grateful to be living in a one-bedroom apartment in Lancaster, Antelope Valley, even if it’s far from home.
“I can’t complain. I really can’t complain,” he said. “I would take anything. The fact that this is being offered is amazing.”
“I’m a Valley guy.”
So moving to Lancaster was a culture shock.
It’s a topic that comes as the Weingart Center on Skid Row celebrated the groundbreaking on Tuesday for its new 278 unit, Weingart Tower One.
“Wherever you come into the system, we plan to serve you,” said Kevin Murray, CEO of the Weingart Center.
Proponents see the perfection in getting people off the streets into Skid Row and into permanent, supportive accommodation nearby. But for far more people in LA County, they find that limited housing supply drives them outside of the city limits.
“So do you get people who say no to a place?” Ricardo Salazar, a Hope of the Valley housing specialist. “Yes, we have a lot of customers who refuse an apartment just because they don’t like the area.”
As a housing specialist, Salazar is helping the LA homeless population find a place where they can rest their heads forever. He says the need for more opportunities in more places is one of the reasons some keep some from receiving help.
McBride was an anomaly.
“He’s one of our customers who was just ready to move,” said Salazar. “He just wanted to be housed. So he was really happy just to be under one roof.”
But McBride says he doesn’t feel like he has many options because his home voucher is part of the federal CARES act and he says he just needs to get an apartment in unincorporated LA County.
He knows it’s not ideal for what he’s familiar with, where he’s lived all his life in the San Fernando Valley, but he says he’s ready to accept it in hopes that he can move, when his one-year lease has expired.
“I’m getting a chance at my life back,” he said.