- Alumnae Spotlight
Manager of FlyawayHomes, an organization that works to assist Los Angeles’ homeless population by building permanent supportive housing funded with social impact equity.
Lawry Jones Meister ‘79 is the Manager of FlyawayHomes, an organization that works to assist Los Angeles’ homeless population by building permanent supportive housing funded with social impact equity. They have been able to lower the cost and expedite the building process by using modular unity and currently have a pilot project under construction that will be complete in August and which will house 33 people who were previously homeless. The project is master leased to The People Concern, a social service agency which provides support services to the most needy in our community. Their goal is to do many of these projects in the years to come.
On becoming interested in non-profit work:
My family has been actively involved in supporting The People Concern for a long time. With Prop HHH/Prop H, which passed in November 2016, we were optimistic that our city would finally make progress in housing its homeless population. However, given the extraordinary costs of permanent supportive housing, the funding will only house 2,400 people - nowhere near enough. After almost 30 years in commercial real estate development, I felt a need to use my skills toward making a contribution in this area.
On the issue of homelessness and its importance to her:
For about 20 years, my father has brought my two sons and me to The People Concern to serve meals and do “triage,” where we interview The People Concern’s homeless clients to find out what services they need. This experience highlighted for me how wrong it is that we as a society allow people to live on the streets, without a roof over their head, ad warm meal, a place to shower or use the bathroom. At our company, we hire clients from The People Concern, and it is heartwarming to see how, if you give them a place to live and an opportunity to earn a living, they are able to rebuild their lives.
On Marlborough’s lasting impact on her:
Marlborough taught me determination: that you have to keep working hard and cannot give up, no matter which roadblocks are put in your way. Also, through service projects, Marlborough taught me the importance of giving back to your community. It is a responsibility everyone has.
On how to determine where you can make a difference:
The most important thing is to find a cause that you really care about, that keeps you up at night, that makes you cry when you think of the injustice - that emotion will motivate you and keep you going. I am humbled by the many people in the non-profit sector who have dedicated their lives to helping the homeless, and how devoted they are to this cause. Find those people for your cause, find ways to work with them. Hopefully, by all working together, we can find solutions to the major social justice issues our country is facing.