Friday, November 9, 2007

Quality Information, Reliable Information

The hardest part of the day, for me, is the first time I walk out of the doors of the Marshall House and face Skid Row. I Can face the challenges of the day easy enough. However, it takes some doing to adjust to the harsh realities of the morning. I would like to phase into it but there is no "no phasing" into when you see 7 or 8 people outside of your door talking to themselves. That is not an everyday thing, by the way. It is the texture of the talking that I notice. It is different from the normal talking to oneself. One begins to recognize these things as time goes on if you have been down here for any length of time.

I wanted to talk so much about things this morning but I have things to do. I shall be patient.


Who was the first pioneer of television broadcasting in Los Angeles?

I wonder how many television executives know that answer. I wonder how many care to know it. Perhaps if I had a career in television, I would not care to know the history of the medium in which I make my living. I trust that I would , however. At least, I would like to think I would value history.

The answer to the question is Don Lee. Mr. Lee was a Cadillac Dealer. He had exclusive rights in the state of California to sell Cadillacs. He, his son and an engineering student were granted a experimental license to operate W6XAO-TV in their studio which was located at 7th and Bixel. They first broadcasted on December 23, 1931. There were on 5 sets in the area that were equipped to receive the signal. More history bits later.


Eric Richardson reports in blogdowntown about the expansion of WIFI in the historic district. (Dam, I was going to link it up with my new skill but the Icons that I wanted to use, or should I say, I only know how to use are not on the screen. I just noticed that. Dam. Perhaps I need to look at the tips Downtown Chick gave me. Thanks for the comments, by the way.)

Central City East residents have been talking about WIFI themselves. They are curious to know when they will have access to the service. They asked me on several occasions in the computer lab on Crocker st. when the area would be getting it.

Accessing information-substantive, productive information on the internet, that can impact one's life in a positive way is quite the rage on Skid Row. Ever since they started the STRIVE PROGRAM, and people can search for jobs in the lab and apply for them people have been eager to learn more about what they can do. They have seen me in there since the computers arrived and think that I would know the answers. They consider me a computer Guru. However, those that follow this blog know differently. I lucked up and found a something that provided an update to WIFI but I am not sure where I found it. I do know I did not see anything about Central City East in future plans. I could be very,very wrong. I assume I just did not know where to look. I am not being sarcastic. I believe I just was not familiar enough with the information terrain to be of any help.

That brings me to another topic. I ran into a lady, this morning, who is extremely frustrated. She was in the facility with me and she is trying to find housing. She could not find housing for months. She did not know where to register for housing.

I was on Skid Row for 7 months before I was told there were two SRO housing providers.
At least, I was told of two that are most talked about in the area. SRO is used generically. I heard of the SRO Housing And Trust on Main St. I did not hear about it from the workers at the facility. I heard about it from people on the streets. That is where you find out most of your information. \

Some people started telling me about SRO. I assumed they were talking about SKid Row Housing Trust. They were not. They were talking about SRO Housing. You sign up for them on San Julian St. Skid Row Housing and Trust has a sign up location on 5th and Main.
You must know the difference between the two. Then you must know the difference between permanent housing and transitional housing. I thought the Marshall House was permanent housing until I did more checking. It was very confusing to me.

If you sign up for SRO Housing Corporation, at the Russ, for permanent housing, you must check in once a month,to see where your name is on the list. If you sign up with SRO Housing Trust, you must walk in the office three times a week after you register in order to stay on the list. You may be able to check in by phone. However, I would not count on that. I have learned on Skid Row....I have learned from the day I was arrested that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Furthermore, the right hand does not know what the RIGHT hand is doing. It is all very nerve wracking and anxiety inducing if you fear being out in the street like the people you see every day and night.

Every case worker in Skid Row tells you something different about a certain policy and procedure of an organization. Many times the tell you something one day and something else the next. It is not their fault. They can only tell you what they know. They are told something different from the organizations from one day to the next. The workers tell them different policy standards. Often, one case worker knows alot from experience in the area, and another knows nothing.

I was fortunate enough to have someone that cared about me in the Transition House. I was assigned to a new case worker who did not know anything though the worker had been employed in the area for quite some time. She is dedicated but inexperienced and did not know how to ask certain questions. The lady who helped me knew that I was not going to trust this lady with my life because I was pressed for time and all of a sudden I had to leave. I was not provided a preparation plan. I was given three or four case managers in a 4 month period. I did not meet with any of them. It was not the fault of the organization persay. There is a high attrition rate on Skid Row. People leave for other jobs. People relapse and are terminated. Quite often that is the case. So what can they do?

That is why there needs to be a clearinghouse of information whereby one location should have knowledge of every service that every organization offers so they do not have to go to 5 or 6 places and are told "no" when they are given information that a "yes" will be awaiting them. It reduces the chances that information will be given out on the basis of favoritism and previous "Old Neighborhood" affiliations and relationships.

I wrote about a 21 year former police veteran who now is on Skid Row. He believes that is one of the main problems, Favoritism and what I call "INFORMATION DISCRIMINATION."

I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I am also not the dullest. I find it amazing that it took me 8 months to find out information that it should have taken me only one or two days, tops, if someone took the time to codify the information in a reasonable manner.

There are many websites about downtown Los Angeles. There are links that tell you where the hotels are, what the rates are, where the restaurants are, the type of cuisine of the restaurants, the price ranges and the amount of time it takes to get a table and the best way to secure a table.

One of the biggest problems of Skid Row is homelessness and housing needs. I was a real estate broker until last year and I am learning so much about real estate that I wonder if I am in the same state. There is California real estate and there is Downtown Los Angeles Real estate, principles and practices.

People on Skid Row need a website where they can access information from a source upon which they can rely. They should be able to know the Rules and Procedures of every place on Skid Row so they can make a decision before the crunch time comes for them to act.

They should know all of the requirements. They should be able to look on a page and see which box is checked on a matrix that has a complete list of requirements and procedures.

No one will feel cheated. No one will be confused. No one will waste time. There are many on Skid Row who feel that everything on Skid Row is designed to waste their time so they can be on the streets standing around with those that WANT TO WASTE TIME.

The computer rage is on in Skid Row. Believe that. I see it everyday. As people become more comfortable and confident with it, they will rely on it as a tool, a tool that can get them somewhere. Not everyone on Skid Row is a sex crime offender and wants to use it for preying purposes. People need equal access to information, and ease to that access.
The want to get off of the streets. Give them the means where by they can get off of the streets.

I find it amazing that at a time when every company requires you to use an automated receptionist to ask frequently asked questions, and use the computer to apply for jobs, these tools are not available to people who need questions answered and need to widen employment opportunities. They want to live inside walls. Do not keep information from them.

good morning, world I love you

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