Rafu Staff Report

Jan Perry, former three-term Los Angeles City Council member who represented Little Tokyo and most of Downtown Los Angeles from 2001-2013, has been named executive director of Shelter Partnership, Inc., an organization at the forefront of programs and policy addressing homelessness.

Jan Perry

Perry was chosen for this role after the tragic death in March of Shelter Partnership, Inc. co-founder and long-time executive director Ruth Schwartz. Initially, Perry will step into this role on an interim basis.

Contacted by The Rafu Shimpo, Perry said, “This transformative organization, launched in 1985, has a long and successful history of developing housing and resources for the local homeless community.

“I am delighted to assume the executive director position to continue the legacy of the late Ruth Schwartz…in service of and advocacy on behalf of those who are unhoused and homeless.”

Her tenure on the City Council saw the dramatic re-shaping of the Downtown area, including the emergence of L.A. Live. Perry also shepherded the development of nearly 6,000 units of supportive housing in her district. She played a key role in making the Terasaki Budokan a reality, working closely with the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), and currently is a member of the LTBA Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of the Little Tokyo community.

Erich Nakano, LTSC executive director, emphasized, “Jan Perry has always been a strong friend to Little Tokyo. She was instrumental in securing city land for the Terasaki Budokan. Without her, we would not be celebrating its completion after all these years.”

In announcing Perry’s new role, Shelter Partnership Board Chair Lance Simon added that her leadership and passion for the cause of homelessness has prepared her for this challenging transition.

“Jan Perry is a brilliant, indefatigable person with the right skills, relationships, and sensitivity to assist Shelter Partnership in achieving those goals,” Simon said.

Shelter Partnership supports entities like the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) as well as local and state government and operates the S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank, a warehouse project that secures large-scale donations of new and unused nonperishable goods that are distributed at no-cost to agencies across Los Angeles County directly serving people living in poverty.

The Resource Bank has distributed approximately one-quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of nonperishable goods to homeless shelters, veterans’ organizations, and foster care facilities. Items include clothes, shoes, socks, hygiene items, and more.

In addition to providing technical, developmental, material, and public policy support as a means to end homelessness in the region, Shelter Partnership performs critical studies on homelessness and the housing delivery system. These include the needs of domestic violence victims, single women, emancipated foster youth, persons with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse, and a major study on housing needs of homeless and low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS.

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