A joint program with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was announced on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 as a part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s monthly press briefing at the Unified Homelessness Response Center. HACLA CEO Doug Guthrie joined with partners to discuss the expansion of a pilot program in conjunction with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Superintendent Austin Beutner, L.A. Family Housing, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), and the City of Los Angeles. Initially announced earlier this year, as students headed back for the new schoolyear, the pilot is set to provide 50 vouchers to families in the Northeast San Fernando Valley for rental subsidies out of HACLA’s Section 8 Homeless Initiative.
To date, all 50 of the families have been matched to the HACLA vouchers dedicated to this program. Of these 50 matched families, 23 are already in process with HACLA and in various stages of the process, from initial housing searches to the final contracting phase. One family has a tentative move-in date of December 5th. In attendance at the press briefing was Blanca Ahumada, a mother of seven, currently benefitting from the program. She expressed gratitude that she no longer has to worry about packing her children up every night, wondering where they will lay their heads next. Now, with this basic need met, they will be able focus on what’s important – like homework and after school activities.
The goals of this joint program are manifold and include supporting students and their families in achieving stability through housing and ensuring basic needs (food, clothing, housing) are met so students are “school ready” and ready to learn. “For decades, our schools have been overlooked in this fight — and today is an important first step as we work to ensure students and their families are met with opportunities and not obstacles,” said Mayor Garcetti.
All in all, HACLA has committed to expand the program from 50 vouchers to a total of 500 vouchers, which will be rolled out, based on need, throughout the city of Los Angeles over the next couple of years. “This program is very important to the Housing Authority,” said HACLA President & CEO Doug Guthrie. “The fight against homelessness in Los Angeles is a joint effort – and one that requires pulling various resources together to make it happen. Today is proof of the power of partnership.”