Beverly Hills recently adopted a one-year pilot program to respond to incidents of “aggressive panhandling” in the business districts. The city council unanimously approved hiring Block by Block, a private ambassador service company, to provide additional “eyes and ears” on the streets to help reduce intimidation of customers and disruption of commerce. Ambassadors can help identify individuals who are homeless and in need of the city’s homeless outreach team.
The company will staff the business triangle with uniformed ambassadors for 21 hours each day.
The firm will work with law enforcement and other city departments, as well as businesses in the area.
The city has a number of policies in place that deal with aggressive panhandling and related quality-of-life issues.
But according to the 2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, the number of homeless individuals in the area comprising Beverly Hills, Culver City, West L.A., Santa Monica and Malibu went up 17 percent in the past two years.
Most who experience incidents of aggressive panhandling are unwilling to fill out a police report.
Ambassadors can witness and serve as the victim in court proceedings.
Patrollers of parking structures are supposed to identify homeless individuals and link them with appropriate services to reduce issues.
The program was researched and recommended by the Human Relations Commission, and is similar to programs in other local communities such as Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Pasadena.
The budget for the program is $500,000.
For information, contact City of Beverly Hills Human Services.
The National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW/LA) is seeking volunteers for its inaugural Back 2 School Store (B2SS), a special opportunity on July 19 for children in need to shop for new clothing and supplies to start the school year.
The event will take place at NCJW/LA’s Council House, located at 543 N. Fairfax Ave. Participants receive services from NCJW/LA, Jewish Family Services Los Angeles and their community partners, and are invited in advance through community organizations.
“We are so pleased to announce Los Angeles’ first Back 2 School Store,” B2SS Peggy Shapiro said. “With this event, we aim to provide school children around Los Angeles with the tools they need in order to start school next year confident, excited and ready to focus on learning. Along with our partners, we look forward to working with the community in order to achieve this goal, and look forward to welcoming new volunteers who share in our mission.”
On the day of the event, NCJW/LA is seeking adult volunteers to help children select the items.
Each child is escorted by an adult and is allowed to select pants, shirts, sneakers, undergarments, a sweatshirt and a backpack in their favorite colors and styles.
Each child also receives school supplies such as binders, notebooks, pencils, a calculator and dictionary, as well as personal care items.
All of the merchandise is new, and is purchased or donated by NCJW/LA and its sponsoring partners, Union Bank and the Southern California Gas Company.
For information about volunteering and donating items, hosting a drive or sponsoring a child, visitwww.ncjwla.org.
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