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“We spent months sleeping in an office space because that was all I could afford to rent. I had to take showers at the gym, and my boys used a friend’s place.”
When his wife’s alcoholism grew worse, Alpha often had to miss work to take care of his two boys. Eventually, with no steady income, Alpha and his sons became homeless. They slept in the car for a while, then on friends’ couches, and then in an unused office space.
They managed like that for a year, but Alpha was running out of options. Finally, he found LAFH.
“It was the first glimmer of hope I’d had in a long time.”
Ashley and Raneighla
“I thought my past was behind me, that I had overcome my hardships. I didn’t see it coming when the abuse started all over again.”
Growing up, Ashley never had a feeling of safety or permanence. She suffered abuse from her father and was then raised in the foster care system. As a teenager, she left home to make it on her own, even taking jobs as a stripper. She experienced many setbacks, including time in jail, but she eventually found her footing.
“I grew up in a home of addicts. It was all I knew.” Billy was raised by a single mom with a drug addiction.
Unfortunately, Billy was also prone to addiction, and despite his desire to stay clean for his girlfriend, Merle, and his daughter, his drug abuse sometimes won over — eventually getting him fired from his job. This left Billy shattered and his family homeless.
Billy knew it was time for a real change. “I’m glad we found this place. Other places wouldn’t help us because we weren’t married.”
Julius and Elijah
“I lost my dog. I lost my car. I lost everything except, thankfully, my son.”
As a veteran with a steady job, Julius never imagined that he’d be homeless, let alone a single father. But when his girlfriend’s mental health disorder became a risk to the safety of their newborn son, Julius took a leave of absence from his job and assumed full custody of Elijah.
Ever since I was little, my family has experienced homelessness.
It was a very stressful time, and we were always worried about where we would sleep each night. Our family had to be separated, and we bounced from shelter to shelter.
When we came to LA Family Housing, I was 9 years old. It finally felt like home.
For once we felt established and safe.
My mom began to have a hopeful and positive outlook. I began to participate in activities, like acting, dance, sewing class, and Girl Scouts… all led by amazing volunteers.
The program, along with the staff here, became a part of my life that will never be forgotten. It didn’t feel like they were just doing their job.
It felt like home.
My family has been in their own home for the last three years, and we couldn’t be happier. We love to watch movies and play games together. We finally feel normal.
"I made bad choices. I was always looking for the easier way, the quicker way." Greg had a loving family and owned two homes. Alcoholism and drug addiction slowly consumed him. His only home soon became a bench in North Hollywood Park. For five years, Greg toiled on the streets. He became resigned to the fact that he’d never see his two grown children again.
Greg tried treatment programs with limited success. In 2008, however, something clicked. “I got tired of sleeping in the rain.” Even more, he missed his family. He entered treatment at People In Progress, an LAFH service partner, and completed a six-month recovery stay. From there, he secured temporary housing placement at LAFH’s Trudy & Norman Louis Valley Shelter, where he stayed sober, began building his income, and worked to find a supportive permanent home.
I changed my whole way of thinking at LAFH. They work with you and give you respect. They encourage you. I’m ready for a nice little place, even one room. Just a place to call home.
The Fontes Family
Christina remembers two years ago when her 8-year-old son, Randy, asked, “Mom, when are we gonna get a home?” At the time, the Fontes family was sleeping in the back of their rusted '92 Ford Explorer in a Ralph's parking lot. It was around the same time that a new sign appeared in front of their truck: No Overnight Parking.
Since Christina and her husband Carlos lost their jobs in late 2008, the Fonteses were homeless. They had tried shelters that could only accommodate single parent families, but the kids, Randy and 11-year-old Cassandra, insisted on the flatbed over the cot to keep their family together. Forced from their temporary parking space, the Fonteses found refuge in a family shelter on Skid Row. The neighborhood was too rough for the children, though, and once a unit became available at Comunidad Cesar Chavez, LAFH's emergency family shelter in Boyle Heights, “a whole new world opened up for us.”
Once stabilized at LAFH, Randy began earning straight As in the fourth grade and took a lead role in Student Council at Korenstein Elementary.
In The News
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Since 1983, LA FamilyHousing has met our promise to end homelessness in thousands of people’s lives. With an effective mix of crisis housing, supportive services, rapid re-housing, and long-term affordable housing, LAFH helped more than 5,000 people in 2014 alone. It’s no longer enough.
The Campus at LA Family Housing promises more.
LA Family Housing's Valley Shelter to be Razed
The site that we’re on right now represents a strategy to end homelessness over the last three decades, from a good night sleep into rebuilding your life,” Klasky-Gamer said, gazing across the two-story motel, which, mated with a three-story addition and dorm, houses 250 adult singles. “What’s evolved is giving people services — and in the past five years a very strategic focus on placing them into permanent housing.
How Homelessness Impacts Very Youngest In Shelters, Schools
The report found the typical profile of a homeless person in the U.S. was a black child who had been in an emergency shelter for at least 28 days. The same report found children under five years of age constituted over half of all children in federally-funded homeless shelters nationwide.
Sanctuary, Not Just Shelter: A New Type Of Housing For The Homeless
Ending homelessness isn't just about finding home. Sometimes, it's about finding a nice home — a place that's bright, modern and healthy to live in. That's the idea fueling the development of a number of buildings around the country, as communities try to move chronically homeless people off the streets.
Increase in Homeless Encampments Spurs Calls for Solutions
"It's a shortage of housing is essentially the problem," said Nathaniel VerGow, outreach and assessment manager for the nonprofit LA Family Housing Corp. "We don't have enough affordable housing."
How are San Fernando Valley’s homeless different from the rest of LA?
“People are not able to get out of homelessness the way they were in the past,” said Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, president and CEO of L.A. Family Housing. She blamed rising rents, stagnant wages and other factors. About 42 percent of the Valley homeless are chronic: those typically living on the streets for more than a year, and who suffer from mental illness, a substance abuse disorder or other disability. That compares with 35 percent in the whole city.
LA County's Affordable Housing Crisis
There are lots of apartments here in Los Angeles County. They're all over the place, but according to a new report they are too expensive for a lot of people who are suddenly finding themselves among LA County's poor.
San Fernando Valley Agencies Pledge Unity to Secure Funds for Homeless
Nearly 200 members from various social service agencies — food pantries and providers of mental health, health care and housing programs — gathered at the Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church in Pacoima as part of an annual homeless housing summit hosted by L.A. Family Housing.
Guest Commentary: Los Angeles has the Will to End Homelessness, Now it Needs the Funds
LA Family Housing's President and CEO writes a passionate call to action in the LA Daily News:
"Now is your chance to support the work that so many are doing. Call our L.A. City Council members and tell them that the determination is there, the coordination is there, and now we just need the city’s commitment of resources to end homelessness in people’s lives permanently."