Every day, hundreds of people in Los Angeles County work homeless outreach — building relationships with homeless residents, and working with them individually to enroll in programs and services already available for help. It’s a major part of LA’s anti-homelessness efforts, but they can’t end homelessness on their own, as KPCC’s housing reporter Matt Tinoco reports.
As vehicles scream down Burbank Boulevard, Eric Montoya of LA Family Housing pulls his car over and leads a group of outreach workers on a narrow path through thick bush. A clearing opens, revealing two treehouses along a creek. Nearby rows of tents line a creek, and trash piles high.
Beyond the tree-shaded comforts of suburban living, miles from the 20,000-square-foot mansions, the hilltop castles, the $40,000 private schools, and the gated glory, L.A. residents by the thousands live in motels, vehicles, shelters, shared homes and 400-square-foot garages.
The things I heard as a kid, and repeated to my own kids, don’t apply for a lot of L.A.’s public school students. There is no quiet place to do homework. There is no private space without distraction. Los Angeles kids, like their parents, make do.
This article is the third in a four-part series. Read the other articles here:
A $5 million gift from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ philanthropic fund will allow a San Fernando Valley-based organization to buy up property to temporarily house an additional 150 homeless families.
The funds will be used to buy property in the “greater Los Angeles area” to provide short-term housing “in the heart of residential neighborhoods, allowing each child to connect to community resources like schools and parks that are so critical while their families find stability,” said LA Family Housing CEO Stephanie Klasky-Gamer.
The nonprofit will then “leverage” the additional real estate “in order to build additional permanent housing for our participants,” she said.
September 6, 2018
LAFH Board Member Tony Salazar participated in a KPCC panel on housing affordability and homelessness in Los Angeles.
August 19, 2018
LA Family Housing was featured in an hour-long special that takes a look at homelessness in Los Angeles on Dateline NBC. Watch the episode by clicking the image below.
April 6, 2018
The Inspiration Award winner shared the stage Thursday night with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and first lady Amy Elaine Wakeland at the L.A. Family Housing Awards in West Hollywood.
At one point during his Inspiration Award acceptance speech, Dwayne Johnson choked up, forcing him to pause and say, "I see ... it's going to be one of those kind of nights."
And it was that kind of evening. A night during which two grown, high-profile men (Johnson and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti) chased away tears against the backdrop of an electric fundraiser that pulled in a record-setting $1.65 million for LA Family Housing.
February 27, 2018
“Homes end homelessness.” That was the simple and ultimately persuasive slogan of the Proposition HHH campaign in 2016. In November of that year, an overwhelming 77% of Los Angeles city voters opted to raise their own property taxes to pay for $1.2 billion in homeless housing — 10,000 units to be built over a decade. Politicians exulted in the win and vowed that after years of short-lived strategies and half-hearted measures, they would finally address the crisis with the resolve and the resources needed to bring it under control.
January 9, 2018
Even with the keys to his new studio apartment grasped tightly in hand, 73-year-old John Leroy McCullah was still trying to process what was happening.
The previous night, he was laying in a rain puddle on a Sylmar street corner. The next morning, mud still clinging to his sneakers, he signed paperwork to move into a newly built housing complex in North Hollywood.
After being homeless for 15 years, the thought of finally having a permanent roof over his head seemed to McCullah like something out of the surreal television show “The Twilight Zone.” A part of him was bracing for a rude awakening or sudden change in fortunes.
“I wish I could have said a lot of superlatives and everything,” he said, “but I’m in a state of shock.”
Exciting Measure H news: the County of Los Angeles will convert the Sylmar Armory from an emergency winter shelter into year-round bridge housing for women operated by LA Family Housing!
“We are proud to be involved in this important development to provide women experiencing homelessness access to gender-specific bridge housing in order to expedite their path into permanent housing,” said LAFH President/CEO Stephanie Klasky-Gamer. “The County's conversion of a winter shelter into new Bridge Housing shows their commitment to do things differently if we intend to see different results. The primary goal is to see women - and all people - permanently end homelessness in their lives.”
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."