Architects and designers can -- and do -- talk about the effects their work can have on homeless people who move into homes they build. But at a panel discussion on the topic, it was Paul Mitchell talking about the meaning of seeing birds outside his own window who moved the crowd.
Blu Dot, the Minneapolis-based home design company with a store on Melrose Avenue in L.A., sponsored the panel discussion along with Skid Row Housing Trust, which develops and manages apartment buildings that provide permanent housing for the formerly homeless.
Mitchell, who said he was homeless for the better part of 20 years, has lived in the Olympia Hotel for about a year, in a third-floor apartment with a tree out his window.
“I have birds that come in. It created a home for me,” he said at the event Thursday. A group of sparrows that worked early, chatted, flew away and came back to sleep each night became “like my mentors. They’re hard-working, peaceful neighbors.”
Once the tree was trimmed, the sparrows left, but some hummingbirds moved in, and Mitchell put out a feeder. “This one little hummingbird, such a small thing, makes a difference in my life,” he said after the panel discussion.