'Home for Good' initiative pools $105 million in resources to fight homelessness in Los Angeles County

Homeless in Downtown LA

Mae Ryan/KPCC

With over 40,000 homeless living on its streets, Los Angeles is the homeless capital of the country.

More than 1,000 homeless people will get permanent housing thanks to a partnership between the United Way and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Their “Home for Good” initiative will announce tomorrow a commitment of more than $105 million in resources that will fund the housing.

The first $5 million comes from businesses like Kaiser Permanente and JP Morgan Chase and foundations like the California Endowment and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Public agencies like the Housing Authorities of Pasadena, Los Angeles City and County are committing $100 million in resources like Section 8 housing vouchers and health, mental health and substance abuse services.

"Putting a chronically homeless person in a permanent home with the supportive services they need to stay there has been shown to be over 40 percent less expensive than leaving someone on our streets," says Christine Marge, the director of Housing Stability for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

"When somebody is living on our streets, they’re cycling through our emergency rooms for their health care, they are in and out of jail and prison," she said. "When they’re placed in permanent supportive housing, those costs decline dramatically."

Marge says each public and private sector funder has traditionally distributed their resources separately. As a result, providers have been cobbling together a multitude of funding streams to make their projects run. That’s hard, says Marge, especially when public budgets are tight.

Thirty non-profit organizations are receiving grants through the initiative. They include the Watts Health Care Center, the Skid Row Housing Trust, St. Joseph Center and the East L.A. Community Corporation.

A map of the recipients of grants from the initiative

One of the beneficiaries of the 'Home for Good' Collaborative is LA-based People Assisting the Homeless — PATH. They're getting a grant for $1 million.

Joel Roberts is PATH’s CEO. He says the money, which comes from the private sector, will help his group sharply expand the number of homeless people it helps. PATH will look to identify chronically homeless people who are frequent users of county health and mental services. It will focus on providing those people with housing.

“Not shelter beds or transitional housing,” he said, but “regular apartments.”

Roberts says PATH’s goal is to house 500 chronically homeless people over the course of two years.

Those who get housing through PATH will have to contribute something towards the cost of that housing — if they have income from a job or government benefits.

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