HUD is proposing a rule that will result in the eviction of 11,000 Angelenos

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing a rule that would divide families and could lead to the eviction of 11,000 people across Los Angeles at a time when we are already grappling with surging rates of homelessness.

The rule would deny federal housing aid to households that include anyone living in the country illegally, even when other members are eligible for aid as lawful residents or U.S. citizens.

L.A. City Council leaders are urging residents to submit comments to HUD by the July 9 deadline.

Suggested language:

The proposed rule "Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status" would have disastrous ramifications for mixed-family households and would directly contribute to our homeless crisis. This rule could lead to the evictions of 11,000 people in Los Angeles alone, a city already grappling with surging rates of homelessness, and could put as many as 55,000 children who are legal U.S. citizens at risk of homelessness. I OPPOSE this rule, and urge HUD to create policies that uphold the agency's mandate to create fair housing opportunities.

Hector's Story

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When Hector was five years old his parents made the difficult decision to uproot their lives in Jalisco, Mexico and move to Southern California in search of better life for their children. Their sacrifice paid off. Hector led a happy and stable life and eventually got his Associate’s Degree in General Education. He was a successful man, holding a number of different careers throughout his life. He began with managing health clubs, then transitioned to admissions work, and finally started his own LLC in debt collection.

This was what he was doing when he got the news that his mother passed away. Hector blamed himself for his mother’s passing. He felt that he should have done more for her and believed that he could have possibly saved her life. Hector quickly plummeted into immense feelings of remorse, shame, depression, and guilt.

He began to self-medicate with drugs, and slowly began losing everything around him.

For a year Hector lived out of his car, barely making enough money to afford gas. Then his car was taken away from him for having expired tags. He officially had nothing.

For the next two years Hector lived at a park in Los Angeles. One night Hector was attacked and robbed at gunpoint by someone he thought to be his “friend.” During the robbery, the very few items he had left that held any meaning for him were stolen. When discussing one of his lowest parts of his life he says, “Even when I was in a crowd, I would feel so lonely. There was no one there to help me.”

Even when I was in a crowd, I would feel so lonely. There was no one there to help me.

Hector knew things had to change, so the very next day he went to Homeless Connect where he was linked to LA Family Housing’s Bridge Housing.

Now, it has been eight months since he was living in a park surrounded by nothing but overwhelming depression and addiction. During his time at Bridge he has excelled in ways he never previously thought possible. He has worked closely alongside his housing navigator to find a place to live, as well as with LAFH’s employment team to find work. In addition, LA Family Housing has helped to connect him with legal aid in order to clear his tickets and acquire a new ID, social security card, and permanent residency card. Hector has also gotten clean and has no interest in returning to the drugs he was using before.

The future is beginning to look bright for Hector again. Hector has gone back to work. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to get housed. I’m literally cleaning toilets right now and I’m singing and smiling because that’s what I need right now.”

The last step is for Hector to find a new home. Hector emphasizes the importance of planning for the future including having his own home, finding a job, and pursuing various entrepreneurial projects.

Hector is extremely grateful for the stability, resources, and opportunities that Bridge Housing has provided him. In his words, “this place can give you everything you need. It’s up to you how you use it.”

Reflecting on the journey Hector has taken, he’s very positive for the future. “People ask if I’m ready to return to the life I had. But you can’t go back. I think life is three-dimensional. I feel like these past few years I’ve been living in a different dimension. I felt like I lost myself. But now I’m going on to my third dimension.” 

How SoCal Gas changed the life of LAFH participant Chantilya

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One day in August, I found myself in the Doctor's office being prescribed medication for depression, insomnia, and migraines. I knew that many aspects in my life played a part in this depression, but a majority was due to the stress and drama from my job. For the sake of my sanity, I left that job.

By mid-September I was facing eviction.

The many shelters I called were full, and the places I approached for rental assistance were out of funding or had a lengthy waitlist. I found a Salvation Army that was willing to help with my rent but couldn’t find a leasing office to accept the payment.

Then, I found LA Family Housing. After a brief intake, Eva provided instructions on how to get started on my journey. She helped me get food stamps, a California ID, and homeless assistance from Social Services the very same day I arrived! By the end of the business day, my children and I had a place to lay our head and food to eat thanks to LA Family Housing.

Eva also connected me with Maria, from LAFH’s employment team. After asking me about my experience and what kind of job I was looking for, Maria helped me submit my application to SoCalGas.

As I waited for a response, Maria sent daily emails of current job listings and job fairs taking place. A Barista position at Universal Studios caught my eye so I applied and a month later I got the job! It was a new and amazing experience for me. I was able to work at Universal Studios during the holidays and take my children to the theme park for free...all while being homeless!

In January, I received the invitation from SoCalGas to come and apply for a position. There was a group of eight that came in to test but I was the only one to pass. Two weeks later, I received an interview request. LA Family Housing helped me prepare for the interview by conducting mock interviews and providing constructive feedback. When the time came, they even provided me with transportation to my interview!

Three days later, I received an email that I passed my interview and would be placed in the candidate pool until a position became available. A week after that email, I received a call for an open position which I accepted and received my offer letter the following day!

I started as a Cashier with SoCalGas on April 8, 2019 and I already love my job. I am a permanent employee with full benefits. I love that this opportunity aligns with everything I have wanted in a career – from atmosphere, to the position itself, to the opportunity to travel while doing my job. I am truly blessed and humbled. I am so grateful for ALL of LA Family Housing. The care, compassion, eagerness, and willingness to help definitely does not go unnoticed. 

I'm currently still trying to secure permanent housing, and not only is LA Family Housing assisting me with this, but they're also providing shelter to assure that my children and I have a roof over our heads! A special thanks to my Case Manager, Siranush, who doesn't make me feel like "another case" but an actual human being!

Let's ramp up our efforts: Homeless Count results are in

While LA Family Housing moved nearly 2,300 people into permanent homes during the past year, the number of people falling into homelessness over the same period overshadows our progress. In fact, across Los Angeles County, our partners have lifted 21,631 people out of homelessness – a 23% increase over the year prior. Knowing these statistics, it’s heartbreaking to read that The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count shows a 12% increase in those experiencing homelessness.

It is clear that the housing crisis and economic disparities are pushing more people into homelessness.

Since last year’s Point-in-Time Count, LA County saw a rise in homelessness of 12% to 58,936. The City of Los Angeles saw a 16% rise to 36,300. While we are encouraged to see a slower level of growth (4%) in Service Planning Area 2, where we focus our work, we recognize that until these numbers decline, we must continue to ramp up our response and invest more in prevention.

Last year, LA Family Housing’s Diversion team prevented nearly 660 individuals from falling into homelessness through financial assistance, legal, and job placement support. Our street outreach teams engaged in over 1,800 conversations with our neighbors experiencing homelessness, providing support that included document assistance, physical, mental health, and substance abuse services. 

Working hand-in-hand with our homeless programs, LAFH’s Real Estate team has expanded our development pipeline from about one project every two years to five projects at a time, with 268 permanent supportive housing units currently in development, while we own and manage over 400 units of permanent housing. Supportive housing is the answer to chronic homelessness – homelessness that is often driven by mental illness and substance use disorder.

LA Family Housing served nearly 11,000 men, women, and children in 2018 – a 47% increase over the previous year. We placed nearly 2,300 people into permanent homes – a 61% increase – with 97% of those placed remaining stable and permanently housed.

While we’re moving people into available housing faster than ever, there remains a huge shortage of available interim housing beds and affordable rental homes. LA County has a tremendous shortage of affordable housing units, and rents are rising faster for low-income renters and far faster than wages. Median household income decreased by 3% between 2000 and 2017, and a renter would need to earn $47.52 per hour to afford the median monthly asking rent. More than 2 million county residents pay more than 50% of their monthly income on housing.

LA Family Housing is helping more people than ever, but we must ramp up our efforts to address the growing inflow into homelessness. This means increasing affordable housing, preventing unjust evictions, and limiting rental increases. We must continue to scale up the solutions that are working to meet the size of the problem, invest more in prevention and diversion, and build on services and connections to those exiting foster care, the criminal justice system, and hospitals.

At the community level, the most important change we need to make is to rally support for the development of new housing. Everyone can help by saying yes to more housing in their neighborhoods.

Thanks to the investments made by the people of LA County through Measure H, the City of LA through HHH, and your incredible support, LA Family Housing is helping more people than ever sleep in a safe home tonight. Our urgent mission continues to help those who don't.

Stephanie Klasky-Gamer
LA Family Housing President & CEO

HELP US MOVE MORE PEOPLE HOME

Aigerim's Story

As asylum seekers, Aigerim, her husband Almas, and their two young girls Ailin and Amina moved in with their cousins as a way to find a better life and save money. But living together was more of struggle than expected, and Aigerim and her family were forced to leave. Almas drove Uber and Lyft to support the family while they bounced around from motel to motel

Every day Almas would drop the girls at school, leave Aigerim at the library to look for work, and begin his driving shift. The family saved money by eating one meal a day while the girls ate breakfast and lunch at school. Then one day at the library, Aigerim googled “LA shelter” and found LA Family Housing.

LA Family Housing was a life saver.
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LA Family Housing arranged for the family to stay at a motel, and once space became available, they were moved to bridge housing. With housing in place, Aigerim found an opportunity as a teacher’s assistant with support from LA Family Housing’s employment team. A few months later, they moved into a new permanent home.

On their first night at home, Ailin and Amina ran through the apartment, laughing and squealing as the family ate instant noodles together.

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“When we lived in motels and shelter, my daughters would always say, ‘Let’s go home. Let’s go home.’”

Because of LA Family Housing, Aigerim’s family was able to go home.

Tiesha's Story

Tiesha, a Los Angeles native and mother of five, fled her home with her three youngest children to escape an abusive relationship. Heartbroken and afraid, she left her eldest children with their Aunt and moved to a small, inexpensive place in Vegas. After five years of being separated from her children, Tiesha wanted to come home.  Reuniting was bittersweet, because it also meant that the family was too large to stay with relatives. With nowhere to turn, Tiesha’s family found themselves on the streets.

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Tiesha’s sister told her about LA Family Housing, who placed the family in crisis housing as they worked to find them a permanent home. After eight months of searching, Tiesha got the call from her Housing Navigator letting her know they had finally found them a home. “My eyes lit up like Christmas. It was time for me to go. I looked at my kids and I said, ‘You guys ready to go home? We have a house!’”

A home is a foundation. I couldn’t think about going to school when I was sleeping in someone’s truck.

Now that Tiesha has a place to call home, she also plans to go back to school for child development.

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Gilbert's Story

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Gilbert was born in East Los Angeles, and lived in the area almost his entire life. He had a successful life, working in the fashion industry in Beverly Hills for names like Barneys and Saks 5th Ave. But he was living a double life. During the days he was a high-end fashion business man, and at nights he was sleeping on the streets. It all started after the death of a loved one. He fell into a depression and began drinking, and eventually he lost his job, his house, his friends, his family. He lost everything.

Finally Gilbert hit rock bottom. He decided to end his life – after shooting up 400 units of insulin and some pills, he jumped off a bridge. But Gilbert survived, and after he recovered in the hospital, he was offered an opportunity to go to rehab and a second chance. “I went in with the mentality of just to get off the streets, but it was life changing. Best decision of my life.” While in rehab, he was connected to LA Family Housing.

After a few months in transitional housing, LA Family Housing found Gilbert an opening at a supportive housing site. “Moving into my new home was the best thing in the world. The first thing I did was just lie on the bed. I knew it was time to turn my life around.”

The best feeling in the world is to be able to help someone get their apartment. To see on their face the feelings and emotions that I felt myself.

Gilbert entered an educational program through LA Housing Works and just completed an internship at Tom Bradley Manor, where he helped homeless veterans to get off the street, get their Section 8, and get into housing.

Gilbert’s ultimate goal is to have a place of his own. “It’s a little frightening, but when that time comes, I’ll meet it head on. It’s been a while since I’ve said this, but I’m happy.”

Willesha's Story

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Willesha and her family came to Los Angeles hoping to find better jobs and opportunities. Willesha, her husband Clifton, and their two young children moved in with their extended family. Unexpectedly, Willesha’s relatives changed their minds about living together, and due to the soaring rents in Los Angeles, Wilesha and her family found themselves homeless.

Clifton called 211,  got connected to LA Family Housing, and the family was quickly placed in a motel.

For one year, the family did their best to live a normal life, although living in a motel was far from normal. Unable to cook, they ate out frequently, surviving on fast food. Their son Jadrian struggled in school and was ashamed of his living situation. LA Family Housing helped to get the family back on their feet with case management, hygiene bags, transportation, and employment support. Slowly, they began to find their footing. Clifton found warehouse work and Willesha secured an administrative position at a local non-profit. When LAFH helped them find an apartment in Van Nuys, the couple knew that their prayers had been answered.

After moving in to their new apartment, one of the first things Willesha did was cook for her family - a true sign that the family had come home.


Yanette's Story

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When Yanette lost her job at a local bakery, she was crushed. Her high-risk pregnancy was getting more and more challenging, and she wasn’t sure how she would care for her baby and her two-year-old son. Estranged from her mother, she moved in with her boyfriend and his roommate. When the friend sold their home unexpectedly, the couple was forced to find another place to live.

With no one to lean on, the family lived in their car: a sedan with a busted transmission that they sometimes had to push around. During Yanette’s pregnancy, Pierre worked odd jobs to bring in whatever cash he could. They lived in their car for two months before another family told them about LA Family Housing.

LAFH immediately placed them in a motel close to a grocery store and Yanette’s hospital. With resources nearby, Yanette didn’t feel as isolated and concerned about her pregnancy, for which she needed frequent checkups. LA Family Housing also provided her with baby products, a stroller, food, and other basic needs. Pierre began working with the LAFH employment team to increase his income. When she was able to go back to work, Yanette started at a retail store to make ends meet. LA Family Housing supported the couple through the housing process for 18 months before they found an affordable place to live.

We were so excited. The first thing Nicholas did was run into his room.

Yanette’s family moved into their new home just in time to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Now the boys can play in their room, and Yanette can bake, a passion that she wants to pursue in the future. Most rewarding is that she and her mother have reconciled, and now she visits her grandchildren in their new home.

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Ronnie's Story

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Ronnie, an L.A. native, has always had a passion for technology. After serving in the Air Force, the self-made IT engineer turned her passion into a career. Perfecting her craft for over 30 years, Ronnie dreamed of passing on her acquired knowledge to others. But when Cathy, her life partner of thirty-three years, became ill, she was faced with the reality of sacrifice, health issues, money concerns, unemployment, and eventually homelessness.

Ronnie moved around a lot in her early adult years, but came back home to California to care for Cathy’s father and his children. With three children now under her care, Ronnie stepped into the motherly role, guidance which she was deprived when she lost her mother at the age of 16.

Shortly after Cathy’s father’s death, Cathy too became ill and balancing work with the care of  her partner three children was more than she could handle. Ronnie had to choose: earn an income or care for her family. Ronnie gave up her job to be a full-time caregiver, a decision that later saved Cathy's life.

Shortly after Ronnie became unemployed, Cathy was rushed to the hospital with heart complications. Ronnie was the glue holding the family together during this difficult time. Over the course of treatments and medical bills, other responsibilities began to pile up. Soon, Ronnie and her family found themselves homeless.

An employee at Olive View Hospital, Cathy’s treatment center, recommended LAFH as a resource. After going through the intake process, Ronnie found comfort within the (former) Valley Shelter* walls. During her stay, Ronnie joined a nearby church which was formative as she entered the next phase of her life. It was through the church that she learned that “when starting anything, first you must find a purpose with what you are doing.”

Without missing a beat, Ronnie began volunteering in order to give back to her community. Every Tuesday and Thursday she serves food in the same quarters she once lived in. Ronnie introduced her fellow members of her church to volunteer as well.

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When asked why she continues to volunteer, Ronnie commented that “the folks didn’t ask to be homeless.”  Ronnie finds comfort in talking with her former neighbors from Valley Shelter. Seeing the positive progress that her friends make while volunteering adds to her continued purpose for giving back to her community.    

The future looks bright for Ronnie, and she hopes to start a program with LAFH and Bridge Housing that teaches participants about financial responsibility, computers, and eventually app development. With the help of her church and the resources provided by LAFH, Ronnie is back on her feet making a difference in the world.

“I know what it’s like to feel like the whole world has closed the door on you, and I don’t
like that feeling.”

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*In 2016, Valley Shelter was torn down, and in 2018 reopened as The Fiesta Apartments, supportive housing for 49 formerly homeless individuals.