On the front page of the Los Angeles Times, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) have run a series of three-inch square Sticky Note advocacy ads blaring the headline ‘Homeless’ laid out in a graphic design format that echoes or mirrors the iconic ‘Hollywood’ sign. The ‘Homeless’ Sticky Note ads, which follow a similar ‘Homeless’ billboard campaign led by AHF that launched in February with the posting of more than a dozen billboards throughout Los Angeles, will appear three times in the paper this week. Each of the three ads urge readers to call Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at City Hall to tell him to ‘ACT NOW!’ on housing the homeless.
On the back of two of the ‘Homeless’ Sticky Note ads is a different, disconcerting housing/homelessness fact or statistic concerning Los Angeles and Measure HHH, a City-sponsored 2016 ballot measure that raises taxes toward the goal of housing the homeless:
- The fact that it has been “16 months since voters passed Measure HHH, and L.A. hasn’t completed a single unit of homeless housing…” to help shelter any of the nearly 58,000 homeless in L.A.—including any of the 34,000 homeless or unsheltered who are in the City of Los Angeles.
- The exorbitant “Cost for a single unit of housing for homeless through Measure HHH: $434,604”
The third ‘Homeless’ Sticky Note ad quotes the L.A. Times Editorial Board, which on February 25th wrote that, “Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis is a national disgrace.” (Note: Since late January, the Los Angeles Times has been aggressively covering the homeless issue in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California in a series of comprehensive news articles and editorials under the banner, “Without a Home.”)
The only additional text on the front of the ‘Homeless’ ad artwork is the web address for ‘LAScandal.org’ (done in the style of the ubiquitous green Caltrans freeway signs posted throughout the state) where viewers of the billboards and the public can get information on the homeless crisis, learn about the lax response from government and elected officials and find links to directly contact their L.A. City Council Member or L.A. County Supervisor to urge them to act decisively and more quickly to address the crisis.
The ‘Homeless’ ad artwork echoes the iconic ‘Hollywood’ sign, except that in a subtle, ironic take, the artwork replaces the letters after the “H” and the “O” in “HOLLYWOOD” to spell out “HOMELESS.”
Simply by swapping out seven letters from the word ‘Hollywood’ and replacing them with six from the word ‘Homeless’ in the format of the iconic Hollywood sign creates a powerful and visceral new message that cuts to the heart of the crisis here in Los Angeles, and is one that many Angelenos will immediately relate to and/or identify with.
“The ‘Homeless’ sticker ads running this week in the Los Angeles Times are intended to put the spotlight on the homeless and housing crisis in Los Angeles as well as what many advocates see as an insufficiently urgent response from bureaucrats and elected officials—including Mayor Garcetti,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF. “We simply cannot build our way out of a metastasizing crisis of 58,000 homeless in Los Angeles. Elected officials, including Mayor Garcetti must face this fact. And though well-intended, the City’s transitional housing demonstration project of five trailers placed on a city-owned parking lot to house approximately 70 individuals and costing $2.4 million dollars in its first year—and that for some reason will not even be up and running until sometime this summer—is far short of an adequate official governmental response, given the magnitude of L.A.’s homeless crisis today.”
Snapshot of The Housing Crisis: Los Angeles
- The 2017 homeless count in Los Angeles County was nearly 58,000 (57,794), a 23% INCREASE from 2016
- The sharp rise, to nearly 58,000, suggested that the pathway into homelessness continues to outpace intensifying efforts that—through rent subsidies, new construction, outreach and support services—got more than 14,000 people permanently off the streets last year. (Los Angeles Times, 5/31/17 by Doug Smith & Gale Holland)
- Homelessness also increased sharply in the City of Los Angeles in 2017, where the count of just over 34,000 was UP 20% from 2016. (L.A. Times, 5/31/17)