LAMP Lodge, LAMP’s original permanent supportive housing, reopened in February of 2023 after renovations were made.
Decades ago, separated by miles of freeway and traffic, parallel efforts to eradicate homelessness were taking place in Skid Row and Santa Monica by two organizations with the same vision and drive. In 2018, these two organizations, Los Angeles Men’s Place (LAMP) Community and Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC), joined forces to increase their impact across Greater Los Angeles. They formed what is now one of Los Angeles largest and most comprehensive homeless services providers: The People Concern.
OPCC was a community resource center for low-income adults and families in Santa Monica founded in 1968. Over the next 50 years, the organization expanded its services to include emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, mental and medical health programs, food, counseling, and peer support as well as a highly regarded Domestic Violence Shelter and Program, Sojourn, and an innovative program for youth and shelter dogs, k9 Connection, which has since expanded to include care for the pets of people experiencing homelessness or in transitional housing..
Housing advocate Mollie Lowery joined the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) in 1976 and stayed to become the program’s director until 1984. She then founded LAMP Community in 1985 with philanthropist Frank Rice as a drop-in center for individuals living with mental illness and other co-occurring disorders in Skid Row, Los Angeles. The organization quickly grew, expanding its services to include case management, health screenings, benefits advocacy, and a residence with 99 beds.
In the late 1980s, LAMP (Los Angeles Men’s Place) acquired property that would become the LAMP Village, a center for life-skills workshops, recovery support, case management, and advocacy services. The organization’s mission shifted towards a Housing First philosophy, and its reputation as a trailblazer in permanent supportive housing and harm reduction grew.
As the two organizations grew and their missions aligned, they merged in 2018 to become The People Concern. With their combined expertise, The People Concern continues to provide comprehensive, supportive services to individuals experiencing homelessness and mental illness in Los Angeles. The agency remains committed to a Housing First philosophy and to empowering individuals and communities to have a say in their own lives. The People Concern is a pioneer in permanent supportive housing that addresses systemic housing issues that contribute to homelessness in Los Angeles through a trauma-informed holistic approach.
The impact of The People Concern’s combined 60 years of advocacy work is evident in the success stories of the people it serves. Clients of the organization have gone on to secure stable housing, find employment, and rebuild their lives after experiencing homelessness. The People Concern’s innovative and effective programs have been recognized as a model for other organizations around the country, and its leadership has become a voice for the importance of addressing homelessness and mental health issues with dignity and respect. Looking forward to the next 60 years, our vision remains the same: we will keep working until everyone in Los Angeles is housed, healthy, and safe.