"Homeless" Billboards in L.A.

Billboards spelling "homeless" in large, white letters evoking the iconic Hollywood sign began appearing around various parts of Los Angeles in February 2018. It is the work of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Jason Farmer, senior director of creative. Visit LAScandal.org for more information. (Jennifer Nystrom/Corsair Photo)


With the headline, “Homeless” in large, white capital letters, the billboards that evoke the famous Hollywood sign began appearing around the city of Los Angeles on Feb. 9. The billboards are part of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's (AHF) latest campaign to address the city's growing homeless population.

“The idea was basically taking the most iconic thing that people know about L.A., which is the Hollywood sign and putting a spin on that, to show that it’s not just the glitz and glamour, it’s also the tents and the people you see sleeping on the street,” said Jason Farmer, the senior creative director for AHF who came up with the idea.

Responses have been positive since the billboards came up last month, L.A. citizen Eric Holmes said, “The fact that they are putting some efforts in advertising revenue towards the homeless epidemic here in LA, I think that’s a good thing and I think they are on the right path with that."

Last year's count showed that there about 58,000 homeless people in the county of L.A. It's a rapid growth from little over 44,000 in the last couple years, according to the foundation's website, http://www.lascandal.org/. A study in UCLA also mentioned that 10,000 college students in California suffered from homelessness.

Farmer explained that the foundation made the advertisements to help bring light to the issue. “We just hope that it will bring awareness... with fixing the homeless crisis in L.A., and especially holding our representatives accountable for it and letting them know that it’s a major issue that we need to address," he said. "The way that we treat our homeless is a big reflection of our society, and right now it’s not looking that good for L.A."

But the AHF has a proposed solution to the problem. “Our look at it is the city needs to look into finding more out-of-the-box ways to be able to get people into just housing, just basic housing. Instead of looking extremely long-term and just going through all the bureaucracy to create housing,” Farmer said. "Health starts with having shelter.”

"I feel that is an effective way of getting the message out there, I think it will bring more awareness," Holmes said.

The billboards will be up for about another month and a half. To find out more about AHF and what they do, visit https://www.aidshealth.org/#/.

As for the foundation, and their plans, Farmer said, "We plan to follow up and keep on doing it until something gets fixed."