The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Annabelle Bardenheier '19

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Annabelle Bardenheier '19 with the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, at a public event showcasing prototypes for mobile interim housing.

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Annabelle Bardenheier '19 interned at the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles (MOEO) for the Winter 2018 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

During this past winter term, I had the opportunity to intern at the Office of Economic Opportunity in the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles (MOEO) which takes action to help individuals overcome barriers to economic security and success. The Office’s foci include re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons, veterans, homelessness as well as workforce development, and affordable housing. The majority of my projects pertained to the Office’s primary concern: the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. Working on a newly formed and highly prioritized policy area in the Mayor’s Office allowed me to work on exciting projects and to witness the hopeful beginnings of many new initiatives to fight homelessness in the city.

As an intern, my main project for the term was planning and executing the Grand Opening of the Homeless Help Desk and Homeless Connect Day at City Hall. The Grand Opening event celebrated the opening of a permanent, welcoming space where individuals experiencing homelessness can seek information regarding local shelters, food pantries, free or low cost medical clinics, and hygiene centers. At the Grand Opening, I organized a press-conference in partnership with Councilman Jose Huizar’s Office (Los Angeles Council District 14). Additionally, I organized a Homeless Connect Day to follow the Grand Opening, which included twenty-one homeless service providers gathering to offer homeless attendees their services. I also completed the background report on a transmittal for a Request for Proposal (RFP) regarding a new housing campus using modular, pre-fabricated structures on a city-owned parcel. This housing campus would offer interim housing for those formerly homeless transitioning into permanent supportive housing (PSH).

My internship reinforced my multidisciplinary approach in academics. Housing and homelessness proved more multifaceted and complicated than imaginable. My government major helped me understand and participate in the institutional strategizing of the new municipal effort to respond to homelessness. However, the issue of housing requires a deep and wide portfolio of knowledge in subjects that range from sociology, to geography, law, and architecture. Being exposed to such a complex issue reinforced my appreciation of Dartmouth’s liberal arts education. My experience has only grown my confidence in my approach to future career plans. I had such a rewarding experience that I could very much see myself returning to the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

I would like to thank the Rockefeller Center for the grant that made my internship possible. Without this grant, my unpaid internship would have exerted an onerous cost to me. With this grant, I was able to worry less about my finances, and instead wholly focus on learning during my internship. I am truly grateful for the grant, as well as the initial and ongoing professional support included in this funding program.

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