The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) is now one of 39 public housing agencies in the nation awarded additional federal funding to house homeless veterans. The $1.4 million will help house 150 veterans. This latest award brings HACLA’s total HUD-VASH resources to 4,059 vouchers.
“No one who served in America’s armed forces should be forced to live on the street,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We have housed nearly 7,000 homeless veterans in the City of Los Angeles since January 2014, but we still have work to do. I commend HACLA for scaling up its efforts to deliver safe, permanent housing to men and women who wore our nation’s uniform. And I will work every day to ensure that Angelenos, who fought for this country and live in this city, have a place to call home.”
HACLA’s commitment to help the City end veteran homelessness is demonstrated through an unprecedented commitment of resources. To date, 3,909 Section 8 vouchers have been allocated as part of the HUD-VASH (The HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) Program. Nearly 94% of the vouchers have been committed with 2,600 individuals housed, 900 units in development as project-based housing for veterans and 200 vouchers recently issued to veterans in search of housing.
“As this year comes to a close, I am proud of the effort that this agency has made to help end homelessness. Thousands of formerly homeless people are housed including veterans who have served our country,” said HACLA President and CEO Douglas Guthrie. “We are committed to seeing this effort through with our coalition of partners and understand that there is more work to be done.”
The Housing Authority implemented the following changes and programs to assist HUD-VASH lease up: Received approval from HUD for a higher exception voucher payment standard for VASH landlords to obtain higher rents, launched the Homeless Incentive Program to provide landlords with a holding fee, executed a universal application and interjurisdictional agreement with the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, expedited eligibility determination and voucher issuance at HACLA and the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, co-located VA staff at HACLA headquarters to better serve clients, and adjusted income limits to 80% of median income for program participants, as well as hired five new staff to expedite lease up of veterans and a contractor to assist veterans in locating housing.
In 2016, HACLA awarded 500 HUD-VASH project based vouchers to two developers to convert motel units into rental housing for homeless veterans. This innovative program will dramatically speed up the development timeline of these units from 3 years to 6 months at one third of the cost per unit. The developers have committed their own private resources for acquisition and rehabilitation and HACLA is providing the rental subsidy.