Unhoused in Hollywood: How The Residences on Main Aims to Address Homelessness
October 14, 2022
October 14, 2022
The Residences on Main, a permanent supportive housing development in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles, offers safe, sustainable housing and services to unhoused individuals so that they can progress further in life. The project’s success stories, including those of residents such as Ruth Campbell, speak volumes about its value to the neighborhood and the city.
When people think about Los Angeles, they often think about the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but that’s only one side of the United States’ second largest city. Los Angeles also has among the highest unhoused populations in the country; 2022 estimates suggest the population experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles increased 1.7% from 2020.
“In Los Angeles, there’s a balance between the rich and poor, and it seems like there’s no in-between,” said James Battee, the resident service coordinator at The Residences on Main.
The Residences on Main, constructed in 2020 and partly funded by Freddie Mac, houses people who were chronically homeless — including families, individuals and transition-age youth, age 18-24, who often lose eligibility for certain public services, such as foster care.
“The funding that goes into these project-based buildings is pivotal,” Battee said. “For Freddie Mac to step in and be able to provide the funds to do so, is amazing and life-changing.”
Beyond providing safe, quality housing, The Residences on Main offers services to help residents become self-sufficient — through job counseling, career support and an array of mental and physical supportive services. Taken together, these offerings are designed to set up a previously unhoused person for sustained success.
“We provide a solid foundation,” Battee said. “The Residences provides hope for people who live in the nearby area to have sustainable housing that elevates them and helps them keep evolving and progressing in life.”
Ruth Campbell was always drawn to helping others, working as a special education teacher and adopting a special needs child from one of her classes. When her older daughter died after having breast cancer, Campbell found herself caring for her six grandchildren, between the ages of 7 and 17, and her now-grown adopted daughter with special needs.
"At that time, I was still on a fixed income," Campbell said. "Once she passed, I didn't think about me; I thought about my grandchildren. You find a way to make things work."
Campbell was able to make ends meet for a few years renting an apartment, but when it flooded, she and her family became unhoused, living in a series of hotels and shelters. Then she discovered The Residences on Main, where she found stability for the first time in many years.
“We have freedom,” Campbell said. “It helps me see who I am and what can I do to help someone other than myself.”
With that newfound stability, she’s become even more generous with her efforts to give back: she volunteers to cook large meals for those staying at her previous shelter and started programs at The Residences on Main that encourage residents to tell their stories — a simple gesture that can have powerful results.
Battee has seen Campbell grow more self-sufficient while acting as an emotional support for many other people in the building, including her own grandchildren, each of whom she has helped graduate from high school. Her story, he said, inspires and motivates others to keep going. And it all starts with access to safe, sustainable housing.
“You see a mental and physical change in people,” he said. “You see people start to use the services that will help them progress further in life. There’s a level of optimism that people have that they don’t possess before they get housed.”
The Residences on Main is one example of how Freddie Mac is Making Home Possible. Learn more about how we’re serving our mission.