The People Concern unveils mural in Santa Monica to kick off new campaign

By Katie Lulla

Arts for LA plans to address the lack of diversity and employment insecurity within the creative industry by advocating for inclusive hiring practices, living wage jobs and racial diversity.

The People Concern, one of LA County’s largest housing and social service agencies, has launched their Together, We Can End Homelessness campaign.
To kick off the campaign, they unveiled a massive mural on 7th and Colorado in Santa Monica. This interactive mural intends to spread awareness and inspire support for campaigns and ending the homeless crisis.

According to John Maceri, CEO of The People Concern, homelessness was a major issue before the pandemic, which has forced many people onto the streets. The devastating effects of COVID-19 inspired The People Concern to launch a campaign connecting people to their neighbors in need.

“We launched this campaign to change [the perception that homelessness is too complicated to solve]… We believe that everyone has a critical role to play in improving the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Maceri said.

The mural was created through a partnership with street artist Corrie Mattie and Beautify Earth, and is located near The People Concern Santa Monica headquarters.

The mural depicts black and white hands linked together with white birds taking flight against a cheerful yellow background. It symbolizes members of the community connecting and working together to create a world where everyone is healthy and free from the confines of homelessness.

“Our goal was to create a localized, grassroots movement incorporating traditional art mediums with a digital platform… The [mural is] meant
to not only beautify our community, but to also heal it,” Mattie said.

Nearby there are window displays that show QR codes that open up a brief video covering the work The People Concern has done and will continue to do to help the homeless crisis. The video humanizes the homeless and reminds people to not disregard the most vulnerable members of the community.

“We would like people to become monthly or even annual supporters of The People Concern,” Maceri said. “Usually people can volunteer their time, but with the pandemic, volunteer opportunities are limited.”

The People Concern was founded in 2016 through the merging of OPCC and Lamp Community, which has given them decades of expertise in creating enduring support for the unhoused. The organization has an impressive success rate and 92% of people in their permanent housing program never face homelessness again.

“We don’t just give out financial aid,” Maceri said. “Our success comes from building trust and giving people multi-level support ranging from medical aid and supportive housing to income assistance and mental health care.”
People can also advocate for policy that emphasizes building affordable housing and increasing homeless services.

“The People Concern is at the forefront of ending homelessness in LA and we are igniting a movement for people to learn about our work in their community and then become changemakers by supporting and joining our efforts,”
Maceri said.

The People Concern urges people to follow COVID-19 guidelines while viewing the mural. For more information, visit thepeopleconcern.org

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