Those who headed to the 1000 Homes Supportive Housing Innovation Awards on June 24—held in the Tom Bradley Tower Room at Los Angeles City Hall—expected to see the city from a special perspective, and the views of the urban landscape from the balconies did not disappoint. Yet it was the opportunity to see a side of city life in a new light that brought the crowd to the event.

For the past two years, the 1000 Homes Committee of ULI Los Angeles has taken up the challenge of ending chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County with a series of initiatives designed to focus the attention and talents of ULI members on this serious issue. The awards event was an opportunity for the committee “to highlight the brilliant innovations that are being made in the area of permanent supportive housing and to celebrate those who are making a difference,” said committee member Anya Baum Davis.

Awards were presented in two categories honoring exemplary leaders and exemplary projects. Supportive Housing Champion awards were presented for political leadership to president pro tempore Jan Perry, Los Angeles council member, 9th District; for government leadership to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments; and for nonprofit leadership to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Exemplary Project awards were presented for innovation in design to New Carver Apartments, Skid Row Housing Trust; for innovation in housing and services model to Rayen Apartments, A Community of Friends; and for innovation in community improvement to Long Beach Village Housing/Clifford Beers Housing.

Action on the issue is the goal of the 1000 Homes Committee, which is a catalyst for change, whether honoring the innovative work of the developers, service providers, and community leaders who are transforming the destinies of the homeless; educating ULI members about the issues; or sponsoring a development competition to generate fresh, feasible solutions for supportive housing.

The committee makes a clear connection between the crisis of chronic homelessness and ULI Los Angeles’s vision for the region. “We cannot create a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, livable L.A. if we don’t address homelessness,” says Shahrouz Golshani, committee chair. “It is time to engage professionals beyond the niche of developers and service providers who have been working on the issues. ULI members have the knowledge, experience, and connections to create new models for this critical form of housing.”

With the second year of the development competition now complete, 1000 Homes has partnered with eight different communities and public agencies that include young professionals and students in development and design. “The competition is a unique way to capture a young person’s passion for social change and help them to contribute in a substantive way,” says Golshani. The competition is generating innovative models for permanent supportive housing that explore new means of lowering costs and speeding the delivery for this much-needed housing type.

As anyone who attended the awards program would attest, the 1000 Homes Committee understands that its work is integral to ULI’s overarching mission to provide leadership in the creation of thriving and sustainable communities.