Homeless veterans now have a place to live in these converted motels.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a bold promise in 2014 when he pledged to provide accommodation for all the city’s homeless veterans by the end of the next calendar year.

Shortly after making the promise, it was clear that the ambitious timeline, though admirable, wasn’t feasible. Los Angeles suffers from a homelessness epidemic, and even with a concerted effort by the government, the issue plaguing disenfranchised veterans would take longer to solve.

However, the city and charitable groups such as Step Up, which has been tackling this very issue for years, didn’t get discouraged. They got creative instead.


During the evolution of the Los Angeles cityscape, many once-viable motels and lodges have fallen into disrepair and abandonment. Seeing these structures as yet another opportunity, Step Up began transforming one such property, utilizing civic incentives.

Images via Step Up.

Not only does Step Up’s new Hollywood facility give shelter to displaced veterans, but it also provides humanitarian services ranging from psychiatric care to job search assistance. Further, thanks to vouchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs, those placed in the new projects may reside there for up to 15 years free of charge.

As a result of this practice and other efforts, the number of homeless veterans since Garcetti’s decree has fallen from roughly 4,362 to 3,071 as of January 2017.

With 500 new units in the pipeline, as well as $138 million in city assistance to combat homelessness, it appears that dedication and some creative solutions may help Los Angeles win its battle against homelessness.

Already, more new projects are underway, and with groups like the Skid Row Housing Trust focusing on downtown homelessness, the problem may not be solved, but L.A. is taking great steps forward.

This story originally appeared on GOOD.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.