We are so sad to learn of Lanny’s passing. Many in the community knew Lanny; he spent a decade living on the streets of Glendale, making Chess Park his home. Please read more about Lanny in our previous blog post here: www.bit.ly/AscenciaLanny.
Lanny’s story isn’t just about his personal struggles, it is a story of the collection of people who rallied to help him over many years to leave the streets and move to permanent housing. The fact that he died in his own home and not on the streets is testimony to the power of permanent supportive housing in the fullest sense of the term. Over the last two days, there has been renewed focus on the Los Angeles homeless crisis, with City elected officials now declaring a state of emergency. What I found missing in their impassioned speeches was the voice of the people who actually do this very hard work of engaging, cajoling, supporting and relentlessly advocating for chronically homeless people. For the most part, these people are employees of nonprofit organizations hired to do what bureaucracies cannot – get on the streets, respond flexibly and quickly to client needs, and to be creative in problem-solving so that they can get their clients into housing as soon as possible. And then there are the people who are crucial to nurturing the clients in their new homes so that they thrive. Invariably, our clients are still desperately poor and need continued support and connection to recover from their homeless experience.
Lanny’s story is testimony to all who devoted their love and professional expertise to his well-being. I particularly want to note that our lead outreach case manager, Alfred, himself a veteran, regularly transported Lanny to the VA for appointments, while Jenni, his most recent case manager, helped him address issues with his landlord.
Jenni gave us this remembrance:
“I know Lanny was so grateful to those at the Alex Theater and Porto’s for their kindness while he was homeless. [Attached is] a photo I took at the Ascencia Urban Blues Festival. Lanny was sort of the face of Ascencia. It’s hard to believe he is gone. Lanny is now free of the physical and mental suffering that had worsened in the past year. He is with his beloved wife now. To die at home and even to be discovered by friends who care is a thing of dignity. We’ll miss him for sure.”
Lanny’s story was widely documented by Mark Horvath (@HardlyNormal), who met Lanny while working as an outreach worker at Ascencia.
Rest in peace, Lanny.
-Natalie Profant Komuro, Executive Director