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LA Councilmembers Krekorian, Harris-Dawson Call for City’s First Joint Housing and Job Training Program to Reduce Homelessness

Year-Long Pilot Initiative Will Serve San Fernando Valley and South LA Families in Need

October 18, 2016

LOS ANGELES- Today, Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the city’s Budget and Finance Committee, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, introduced a motion calling for a new, innovative paradigm for reducing homelessness in the City of Los Angeles. The pilot initiative is a first-of-its-kind program that will pair rapid rehousing with job training in order to get people off the streets and prevent them from falling back into homelessness. The pilot will bring the City of Los Angeles together with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE) to provide rapid rehousing subsidies and job training through employment with nonprofit organizations.

This is a new approach to tackling the city’s homelessness crisis. Previously, the city’s practice has been to give money to nonprofit service providers for discreet services and wait for results. With the Krekorian-Harris-Dawson pilot, the city will play a proactive leadership role by overseeing the pairing of two distinct services—housing and jobs—together in one program. If successful, this year-long pilot in the San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles could provide a template for reducing homelessness throughout Los Angeles.

“Homelessness is such an enormous crisis impacting the lives of Angelenos from South Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley,” said Councilmember Krekorian. “As we work on a holistic strategy to address the issue by providing people with housing and services, we also need to provide a pathway to employment. This pilot program brings together two critical needs in one comprehensive program, something that hasn’t been done before. It’s my hope that this pilot program will succeed and give us a new template for our citywide work to reduce homelessness.”

“This innovative, first of its kind, program targets families who have fallen on hard times and need support and stability to escape homelessness,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “Communities in South LA have some of the highest rates of unemployment in the City which contributes to high rates of homelessness among communities of color. This program is one component of the City’s Comprehensive Homeless Strategy, and will be a testing ground for ways to support low-income families who experience homelessness.”

ABOUT THE PILOT PROGRAM

The pilot program will help a total of 50 homeless individuals in the San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles get housing and a job—two things all people need to survive in our society today.

It will work by providing rapid rehousing through a subsidy for qualified homeless families and individuals. With the support of LAHSA, nonprofits and the City of Los Angeles, rapid rehousing will also come with wrap-around supportive services to help people overcome personal barriers that play a crucial role in housing retention. These housing services will be paired with a jobs program overseen by LA:RISE, a new program that subsidizes employment and supportive services to train and prepare unemployed people for continued mainstream employment. Employment for pilot participants initially will be provided by a nonprofit, such as Chrysalis. Participants will gain paid work experience in a supportive work environment.

WHAT THE MOTION SAYS

“Even in the best of circumstances, when a homeless individual does not suffer from debilitating mental health or substance abuse challenges, changing that person’s life often requires a significant investment in services. A rapid re-housing voucher by itself only offers a six-month respite of housing and opens the possibility for recidivism back onto the street without a sustainable source of income when the voucher expires. Similarly, enrolling a homeless person into a job training program without offering a place for that person to live and adapt to a housed way of life will prevent them from re-entering the mainstream job market. In a vacuum, each of these programs is hugely important, but each only provides half the solution to bringing an individual permanently out of homelessness.

“The budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 included funding for rapid re-housing vouchers and for LA:RISE, a program through which participants can receive job training, get paid work experience and eventually transition into the workforce. …

“For many homeless individuals, true housing success comes from both a roof over their head and an income to pay for it. A pilot to bring these services together can explore how housing and employment together can create a viable path to lifelong independence. It would be a tremendous benefit for those participants if their upcoming participation in LA:RISE was paired with a rapid re-housing voucher to create a more comprehensive path out of homelessness.”

Read the full motion here: http://bit.ly/2eCuaKd

The motion will be heard by the Economic Development and Homelessness and Poverty committees, followed by the full City Council in the coming weeks.

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Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian chairs the Budget and Finance Committee and represents Council District 2, which includes the east San Fernando Valley. He also chairs the city’s Ad-Hoc Job Creation Committee. His website is paulkrekorian.org, where you can sign up for news updates. Visit him on Twitter (@PaulKrekorian) or Facebook.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson chairs the Homelessness and Poverty Committee and represents the 8th Council District in South LA. You can connect with the Councilmember at mhdcd8.com, and on social media @mhdcd8.

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