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Community Arts Intervention – What Is It?
Just because people live in the same place does not mean they live together. Los Angeles has made strides in creating housing for young adults coming out of the foster care, carceral and mental health systems, and of the streets out of homelessness. Due to trauma, displacement, mental illness, and homelessness, young adults are understandably wary of each other and have limited reason to interact even as neighbors. The Community Arts Intervention starts and ends with a party. At the initial party, the residents choose what types of arts activities will come into their home. Eight weeks later, a second party marks the end of the intervention, residents celebrating the creativity of their fellow residents.
Community Arts Intervention – How is it different?
With all the millions of dollars spent on services addressing homelessness, mental health, and transitional aged youth, there is virtually no effort to help these ‘clients’ support and help each other. In Permanent Supportive Housing, the residents all have case managers and mental health providers, but limited opportunity to socialize with the other residents. Even the best housing facility staff that valiantly try to create a sense of home and a sense of community, but the staff are mired in bureaucracy and limited budgets. Community Arts Intervention brings the residents together through the arts so that when we leave, they keep talking to each other.
Community Arts Intervention – Research
We have been sponsored by the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation among others to conduct a thorough assessment of the Community Arts Intervention in seven housing facilities this summer. The Spark Policy Institute is conducting the assessment, examining the impact of the arts on both the individual residents and their social networks, and on the sense of community in the housing facility itself. The assessment asks the residents and staff about their experiences in the facility for a month prior to, then during and then after our intervention for several months. Positive results will demonstrate the effectiveness and impact of this low cost, creative community solution to the isolation and disruption of living with others.