L.A. County considers another path on homelessness: prevention
The calls on the hotline reflected life at its messiest: A single mom who left her boyfriend and was living in a motel. An out-of-stater who came for a job that fizzled. A low-income family with medical bills and a three-day eviction notice.
The callers had one thing in common. They were not homeless — yet. When they reached the referral line at L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood, the pained response once would have been, “If you wake up in your car tomorrow, call back,” said Kris Freed, vice president of programs at the nonprofit agency.
That’s because traditional services for homeless people — shelters, housing assistance and case management — have one fundamental requirement: that the recipient is verifiably homeless. Now, a new and largely unproven approach is emerging as a major element of Los Angeles County’s homeless initiative. Those drafting plans for the Measure H sales tax funds approved by voters in March have proposed spending more than $40 million over the next three years to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.
While strong winds at Los Angeles Family Housing’s 18th annual Awards at first almost threatened to blow the whole event away, the humanitarian spirit of its attendees held strong as the evening came together beautifully. Ice Cube and Zach Braff were among many notable attendees Thursday night at The Lot in West Hollywood as LAFH raised funds and awareness to continue its fight against homelessness in Los Angeles.
Holly Marie Combs, Missi Pyle, and Cameron Boyce were among the other celebrities who walked the yellow carpet before enjoying food from several different Los Angeles restaurants including Button Mash and Trap Kitchen. Afterwards, guests made their way inside for the awards ceremony and charity auction. The event was initially planned to be located on the rooftop at The Lot, but windy weather forced organizers to improvise and move the proceedings to the ground floor, including the reception itself which was held in the parking garage.
MARCH 9, 2017
Los Angeles County voters on Tuesday gave the green light to a quarter-cent sales tax increase intended to raise an estimated $355 million a year to pay for an ambitious plan to battle homelessness.
The vote follows the approval last November of an L.A. city ballot measure to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to fund the construction of homes and shelters.
With the cash in hand, how should it be spent?
"It's the first step towards ultimate victory," said Rev. Andy Bales from Union Rescue Mission. "Don't feel like, 'Hey, we've crossed the finish line.'"
Stephanie Klasky-Gamer of Los Angeles Family Housing added, "Because it's all so new, it's a bit of building the plane as we're flying it that's going to happen."
Take Two talked with these two advocates for the homeless about how they would like to see taxpayers' money spent, and how the process will work.
February 28th, 2017
Tera is a single mother with two small boys who escaped homelessness thanks to help from L.A. Family Housing. She describes the hopeless and helplessness of having np place to live, and what it means to finally have an apartment she and her sons can call home. Featured in KCET's SoCal Connected Special: The Way Home.
January 5th, 2017
What's our best bet for breaking the cycle of family homelessness?
Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, president and CEO of LA Family Housing joined Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission in downtown L.A., and KPCC correspondent Rina Palta to talk about the solutions on the city, county and state levels, and whether they'll be enough.
RINA: WHEN WE HEAR THAT WE'RE AT THIS CRISIS POINT OF FAMILY HOMELESSNESS, MORE SO THAN IN THE GREAT RECESSION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POSSIBILITIES FUELING THIS?
Klasky-Gamer: It's always an economic crisis – a loss of hours in full-time work, someone going from a 40-hour a week job earning $10 an hour going down to 38, or it could be a two-headed household working and they still can't afford a typical apartment in Los Angeles. So I think there's always an economic crisis that's tied to family homelessness.
DECEMBER 25th, 2016
Rams' Tavon Austin, Robert Quinn bring holiday joy to single mother of six
LOS ANGELES -- Tavon Austin thought about his mother on Wednesday afternoon. He always does, but on this day it was different.
The Rams wide receiver was standing inside a four-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood called Sun Valley, nestled in the northwest section of Los Angeles. Austin and teammate Robert Quinn had spent more than $20,000 from their own bank accounts to furnish this place for a single mother named Rebecca Carter who had just been reunited with her six young children and was doing her best to put six years of periodic homelessness behind her.
Carter walked in, and her eyes lit up -- and Austin thought back to Baltimore, and Cathy Green, and all the odd jobs she worked to provide for four children, and the drive Austin felt to someday pay her back for it all.
"My mom was pretty young, and she did what she could do," Austin said. "We had six people in the house [his grandmother lived there, too], so I know how this feels. It put the drive in me to get to where I want to today. That’s how I looked at it, that’s how I approached it and that’s how I took it. Hopefully one of them little boys in there take it the same way that I took it. 'I’m going to get Mommy out of here. I’m going to get us out of here.' That’s what I did."