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Housing Authority looking to add more vouchers for homeless veterans

FILE: Gary Reed, a homeless veteran, conducts a survey for the 2014 Homeless Count with Valerie Godin, who has been homeless for the past one and a half years.
FILE: Gary Reed, a homeless veteran, conducts a survey for the 2014 Homeless Count with Valerie Godin, who has been homeless for the past one and a half years.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

An L.A. County Housing Authority official on Tuesday told supervisors that his department is hoping to add hundreds of housing vouchers to address the county's veteran homeless population.

The news comes a day after KPCC reported the county was falling short in its effort to house all its homeless veterans by December 2015.  

At a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, CD3 Supervisor Sheila Kuehl — who represents much of West and North Los Angeles — asked L.A. County Housing Authority head Sean Rogan how the department is planning to address the issue.

"What steps is HACOLA taking to help L.A. reach the goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of this year?" Kuehl asked. "Looks like L.A. city might be on track, but the county doesn't look like it's so on track." 

Rogan replied that the Housing Authority is hoping the county will be granted funding for more vouchers that providing help specifically to homeless veterans.

Vouchers allow low-income individuals to pay only a set portion of their income toward rent, based on how much money they make or receive each month. The rest is picked up by the government. 

"We feel very confident that we will receive an additional 255 vouchers," Rogan said, "which will bring our total to well over 1,550 vouchers specific to homeless vets."

Rogan added that his staff is working to get funding from Proposition 41, a voter-approved initiative that directed state bond funds to help build housing for low-income and homeless veterans. He also pointed out that a recently-constructed "village" for homeless veterans will soon begin accepting up to 40 tenants in El Monte. 

Last week, United Way's Home for Good campaign released data that show the county will need to find homes for over 6,000 vets — or an average of at least 604 people each month — to reach its December goal. In February, it was able to house just 262.