Homeless Health Care Los Angeles celebrates a history of caring
Homeless Health Care Los Angeles has helped more than 200,000 of the most marginalized and disadvantaged individuals and their families in Los Angeles through medical, behavioral health and quality of life services. Earlier this month, the non-profit celebrated more than three decades of caring at its annual gala.
Now in its 22nd year, more than 300 guests attended the charity dinner directly benefitting the impoverished individuals that the HHCLA serves. Proceeds from the event are directed to the organization’s behavioral health programs, including physical and mental health care services, a syringe-exchange program, substance use treatment, overdose prevention services, including naloxone distribution, permanent housing, wellness programs and maintenance of the organization’s hygiene center on Skid Row.
The gala was hosted by Irish-born comedian and actor, Francis “Frank” Cronin. In March, Cronin raised over $20,000 for HHCLA through a conscientious social media campaign titled Rough Set. Cronin traveled 500-miles on foot from San Francisco to Los Angeles, spending over 40 nights outdoors, in an effort to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles. Now an official ambassador of HHCLA, the comedian provided light-hearted entertainment on the night of the event.
Setting the mood
The gala unfolded at the sophisticated and stunning Dorothy Chandler Pavilion inside The Music Center where guests mingled during a lively social hour in the ballroom in between glasses of champagne, wine, and rose. There were silent auctions for artwork by Kush, a longtime HHCLA collaborator and photographer Karchi Perlmann, as well as raffles for trips to Paris, Puerta Vallarta and Palm Springs.
A visual presentation by photographer Josh Rose curated HHCLA’s “In Tent” photography exhibit. The collection drew attention to the image of the tent, the shelter for LA’s homeless community and a thin shield agains the harsh city and difficult living of Skid Row. Rose is a long-time collaborator and supporter of HHCLA who was on a mission to authentically and empathetically tell the stories of HHCLA’s clients. As Rose entered each tent, the story of the people living inside came alive with truth, understanding and an observation of the power of human connection.
The annual Plato De Oro gala has seen several musical acts including Michelle Branch and Tears for Fears music. This year had a special twist with jazz-inspired tribute band, Dear Amy. The seven-piece ensemble, starring Amy Winehouse look-alike Frankie Jordan, gave an authentic tribute performance to the late Amy Winehouse, performing hits such as “Back to Black,” “Tears Dry on Their Own,” and “Me & Mr. Jones.”
Champions of change
The event honored two of HHCLA’s own with Executive Director Mark Casanova and Director of Communications and Development Heather Edney presenting the official Plato de Oro awards. The 2019 honorees are board member Jennifer Nash-Ellenburg for her unwavering commitment to HHCLA’s mission and program manager Evans Clark for his tireless service in the field.
Homeless Health Care Los Angeles is committed to providing trauma informed care and harm reduction services to homeless individuals in Los Angeles. Their primary mission is to provide innovative strategies for reducing the harms associated with homelessness and substance use.
The organization recently launched their Skid Rover initiative, a new project to collect collars, leashes and food for people and their pets on Skid Row.