Hollywood in Sacramento: H4WRD's Advocacy in Action

Hollywood in Sacramento: H4WRD's Advocacy in Action

H4WRD Blog
5/21/2024
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce advocacy group including H4WRD Executive Director, Brittney Weissman, with State Senator Anthony Portantino (SD 25), in his Sacramento office

DATELINE: Sacramento, CA (May 19, 2024)

The promise inherent in Hollywood 4WRD’s advocacy pillar is that we will lead our coalition with a cohesive voice, and ensure that our stakeholders remain aware of the organization’s role in current policy initiatives. In service of that pillar (and promise!), H4WRD’s Board of Directors met earlier this month to discuss AB 2650 (Zbur), and whether the bill warranted H4WRD’s support. 

Currently, the status and type of each resident in an Adult Residential Facility (ARF) or Residential Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) -- colloquially called board and care facilities -- in the state of California is unknown to systems leaders. Without the vital information of who, exactly, fills these beds and what, exactly, their specific needs are, it’s impossible to adequately plan for them and board and care residences are closing by the dozens across the state*.

H4WRD’s Initial Policy Platform, adopted October 2023

Introduced by our Hollywood area State Assemblymember Rick Zbur, and sponsored by Licensed Adult Residential Care Association (LARCA), AB 2650 would require current data from board and care facilities to help state and local leaders create stronger plans for our vulnerable neighbors.

H4WRD agrees that AB 2650 fills critical gaps regarding licensed adult residential care facilities, that these facilities are in a state of crisis, and that improved data collection is crucial to better understanding and ultimately achieving cost-effective and sector-stabilizing support down the line. As such, H4WRD’s Board unanimously supports AB 2650.

State Senator Ben Allen (SD 24), center, with the Hollywood Chamber cohort

In addition to advocating in support of a state bill, H4WRD’s Executive Director, Brittney Weissman, traveled to Sacramento with Hollywood community leaders on Tuesday, May 14th, on behalf of The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to meet privately with several members of the California Legislature.

State Senator Maria Elena Durazo (SD 26), in blue, with the Hollywood Chamber Cohort

Brittney was joined in the group by Steve Nissen and Aaron Taxy from The Chamber, Sonia Campos-Rivera (UNITE-LA), Matt Fritch (The MBS Group), Pamela Marcello (Hollywood Burbank Airport), Nick Rimedio (W Hotel Hollywood), and Sarah Zurell (Cels Inc.).

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, 54th District, center, with the Hollywood Chamber cohort

The group’s whirlwind day in Sacramento featured meetings with a long list of California lawmakers, including State Senators Ben Allen, Maria Elena Durazo, Anthony Portantino, and Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, and Assemblymembers Laura Friedman, Mike Gipson, Tina McKinnor, Al Muratsuchi, and Miguel Santiago.

Assemblymember Laura Friedman, 44th District, in the striped top, with the Hollywood Chamber Cohort

Steve Nissen, President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber,  explained one of the group’s goals for each meeting was, “to present the lawmakers with a clearer view, beyond the glitz and glamor, of how homelessness is directly impacting the Hollywood community.”

Steve added, “We knew they were all keenly aware of the issue of homelessness across California. But we wanted to share the wide range of perspectives on the crisis offered by Hollywood’s diverse stakeholders.”

By the end of the day, Brittney was feeling hopeful about the group’s efforts:

“We gave California’s key decision makers a better understanding of homelessness in Hollywood, while also sharing a glimpse of Hollywood 4WRD’s diverse coalition, and some of the innovations and advocacy efforts we advance collectively in Hollywood.”

H4WRD’s support of AB 2650, along with Brittney’s trip to Sacramento, both reinforce our Advocacy pillar and strengthen H4WRD’s ability to lead and represent our membership. As we do so, we move ever closer to fulfilling our mission of ending and preventing street homelessness in Greater Hollywood -- one step and one policy position at a time.

Assemblymember Mike Gipson, 65th District, in bow tie, with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Cohort

-----------------------------------------------------------------

* – Read H4WRD’s blog To Board and Care in Hollywood for an overview of an in-depth study published last year by The Future Organization, which provided critical insights, data, and recommendations regarding the current Board and Care system in LA County.

Additional Resources: