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The Gelt Foundation has rebranded as Resident Relief Foundation. The organization launched last year as a philanthropic arm of Gelt Inc., a real estate investment firm, to help provide rental assistance to those at risk of falling into homelessness by preventing evictions due to an unexpected financial emergency. The name change better communicates the organization’s mission as well as the growing donor support. In its first year, Residential Relief Foundation has made progress in providing rental assistance to residents in need, but says that the homeless problem is only escalating in Los Angeles.

“The homeless problem in L.A. continues to get worse, however, the more we talk to people in our community, the more we are convinced that we need to focus on homelessness prevention,” Tina Oswald, executive director of Resident Relief Foundation, tells GlobeSt.com. “Dateline NBC aired an eye-opening special last Sunday night and facts were brought to light about who the homeless in Los Angeles really are. They are not all mentally ill or drug addicts. In many cases, people just need temporary assistance to get back on track or even just enough time to find something less expensive to move into before they are evicted and the downward cycle begins.”

As the homeless problem has grown in Los Angeles, there has been a surge of support from the real estate community, with ideas regarding everything from services to transitional housing to rental assistance, like this. It is likely that we will need to implement a number of solutions to decrease the number of people living on our streets, and it will likely come from both within and outside of the real estate industry. “We believe that the solutions for homelessness must come from everyone not just our own industry,” says Oswald. “This is a global problem that affects everyone. Even if you want to pare it down to just money—as a taxpayer it’s in our best interest to help the homeless especially in our own back yard. Of course, there are many issues to deal with: the lack of health and mental care, NIMBYs who keep fighting every time there’s a proposed bridge or affordable housing development being considered in their neighborhoods, and honestly, a lack of real knowledge about who the people on our streets are and why they ended up homeless. We know from experience that with a few dollars, we can keep many of them from getting there in the first place. I heard a woman at a Santa Monica Homeless Steering Committee meeting wonder out loud why, with all the wealth in the area, they couldn’t get the 951 homeless (from the last count) housed in empty homes, apartments, or even rooms or subsidize them. It would cost far less than the money we’ve spent and are spending to combat it, to deal with it, to clean up after it and fight endless litigation for/against it.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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