STUDIO CITY : Tree-Planting Project to Hire Homeless

An environmental group, a homeless shelter and a Los Angeles real estate firm teamed up in Studio City on Tuesday to unveil a program in which homeless men recovering from drug addictions will work planting trees in South Central Los Angeles.

Following a six-week training course that begins in October, five residents of the downtown Union Rescue Mission will organize and conduct plantings in various areas of South Central in November. They will be taught by workers at the nonprofit environmental group, TreePeople, in Studio City.

TreePeople spokeswoman Rena Kilmor said the program not only beautifies neighborhoods but gives participants a sense of self-worth.

“We want to teach individuals that they’re able to do this kind of thing on their own,” Kilmor said.


“I’ve seen this work from the ground up. It really gives people a sense of accomplishment.”

Earnings will be deposited in savings accounts for the men, who are participating in drug and alcohol recovery programs.

“This will provide them with a little nest egg for when they graduate so they can find an apartment and get a job,” said Paul Turner, manager of the Community Corps Service, a subsidiary of the rescue mission specializing in job placement.

The training program and trees were paid for with $15,000 raised by CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc.

“Our motivation was to respond to the call to rebuild L.A.,” said Steve Deming, a company vice president.