Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint Holdings LLC, issued a call to action Friday before a virtual summit of business leaders for the public and private sector to work together more than ever, as economic recovery efforts continue amid the pandemic.
As head of FivePoint, which is developing a 21,000-home planned community along Highway 126, Haddad spoke at the Los Angeles Business Council’s 19th Annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit. The yearly event invites elected officials, business leaders and policy experts to discuss issues around housing affordability, transit accessibility and equitable economic development.
The COVID-19 crisis has worsened several issues around unemployment, housing and homelessness, Haddad said.
“None of us knew that four months after (November 2019) the world was going to be dealing with the worst pandemic that it’s seen in 100 years, and the issues that we were trying to address at that time from homelessness to everything else, were going to be exponentially getting worse,” he said. “The virus has exposed even further the inequities we have in our society.”
Haddad said there’s too much focus on identifying problems and less action toward recovery.
“Today, we should not be dealing with the issues that we might have disagreed on in times of peace, because we are today at war with a virus and its derivatives,” he said. “We need to set aside everything else for a different day that we might have disagreed on and come together, public, private, education, it doesn’t matter. We all need to pull our resources in order for us to win this battle.”
Other speakers mirrored Haddad’s message, including Dee Dee Myers, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Myers is also the former press secretary for President Bill Clinton and a Hart High School graduate.
“Public (and) private partnerships will be absolutely essential as we create new solutions to the problems, the challenge that we have ahead as we redefine what it means to problem-solve and to bring all the sectors, all the creativity, some of the resources into that dialogue and find new ways forward,” she said.
To watch the full summit, visit youtu.be/KsO8j0hz588.