The Korean Resource Center (KRC) shares the belief with its sister organizations in Koreatown that community input is critical when it comes to changes that can affect the health and wellness of those who reside or work in the neighborhood. The City of Los Angeles’ recent decision to locate a temporary resource to address the needs of those who do not have shelter has been controversial among Korean American community groups, but KRC believes that the most important thing is to respond with humanity and care for those who suffer from being poor and friendless in a time when community support, not division, is most needed.
In retrospect, there could’ve been a better way to educate, inform process, and navigate the fear and anxiety that people have about those without housing. However, one of the persistent realities of addressing this lack of housing--alongside the deprivation of essential resources, physical and psychological hardship, and the social stigma faced by those in such situations--is that there may not be a singular ideal solution that is satisfactory to all.
This is why KRC wants to give voice to the fact that there are some in the Korean American community who recognize the complexity of the problem the entire City faces, and that our community can play a role in creating a model for other places struggling with similar difficulties. Our community has been asked to help because the need is manifest in our neighborhood and the space already exists.
As the Korean American community matures, we will naturally experience opportunities and challenges. The decisions that we make to respond to the latter are the foundations from which we can further build. Koreatown has a chance to demonstrate a willingness to help and represent the interests of the whole while also acknowledging our own. This is the time for community solidarity, and community conflict only drains the resources that we need for other critical actions. We have an understanding of how critical transitions are when it comes to immigrants who come from Korea to pass through a safe space like Koreatown. We should also extend the same understanding to those who might be in similar transitions in their lives, even if they do not share the same stories.
KRC supports the City of Los Angeles in its efforts to relieve the hardship of living on the streets and provide space for rest, care, and transition. We are aware that this new resource will bring potential for conflict but we also believe that it will advance human dignity. As a community organization, our focus will be to offer assistance, monitor events and issues, and work with those in the City responsible to keep safety and sanitation in good order. We also recognize that Koreatown is populated by many who do not identify as Korean American and note that any volunteers who support the creation of a safe space for those without a home will find a partner in us. We can build a model response, and KRC promises to be among those who reply with heart, head, and hands.
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