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Following turnaround of City housing agency, federal officials award total of $72 million to City homeless programs
Delivering on his pledge to reform the City’s housing agency and tackle the challenge of homelessness head-on, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined City Council President Eric Garcetti, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) Executive Director Rudy Montiel and Chief Operating Officer of the LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Mike Arnold to announce extra federal funding for the Shelter Plus Care program.
“This is a watershed moment in LA’s effort to end homelessness,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.
“This reinstatement of federal funds is proof that when you set a goal and work with determination to address our most pressing challenges, major change and progress can occur. With this announcement, it is safe to say that HACLA has cleaned its house, restored its accountability and redeemed its reputation with the federal government.”
Under the leadership of Mayor Villaraigosa, HACLA is transforming from an agency maligned by decades of mismanagement and corruption into an organization defined by balanced budgets, an improved voucher program and effective services, said its officials. LAHSA has played a critical role in building strong partnerships between City, County and non-profit agencies, they said.
Over one year after losing federal funding for a wide range of housing and homelessness programs, federal authorities informed Mayor Villaraigosa that HACLA’s turnaround warranted a full restoration of millions of dollars for the Shelter Plus Care initiative.
This year, Los Angeles will receive over $72 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help fight homelessness. Comprised of nearly $60 million in grants for ongoing programs and more than $12 million in new money for the Shelter Plus Care initiative, these grants represent a 26 percent increase in funding since last year. According to HUD, this is the largest federal funding award ever given to the City and County of Los Angeles to help the homeless. “During the holidays, we’re all reminded of the tremendous number of people in need, but those needs don’t end once the season is over,” Council President Garcetti said.
“Restoring funding for the Shelter Plus Care program could not have come a moment too soon. This is a wonderful Christmas present, but more importantly, this funding will help thousands of people get back on their feet and find a brighter future.”
Shelter Plus Care began in 1992 and is the largest program of its kind in the country. Over the past 15 years, it has provided 61 grants, worked with 15 sponsoring agencies, supported 1,990 units and supplied $78.9 million in total funding. In addition, the program provides rental assistance for permanent supportive housing to low-income and homeless families and additional services to individuals suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and other disabilities.
“Record resources to Los Angeles reflect a new level of partnership between the City and the County, and implementation of innovative initiatives that are results-oriented,” said Philip Mangano, executive director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.
“Mayor Villaraigosa is to be commended for extending his political will and his sense of partnership to reducing homelessness in LA.”
Immediately following the announcement, Mayor Villaraigosa joined more than 300 volunteers, staff members and celebrities to serve warm meals and distribute gifts to homeless families and children.
“There are few better ways to celebrate this holiday than to give the gifts of safety, security, shelter and a fresh start to those who need it most,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.
“Every hot meal and every safe bed we provide makes an enormous difference in the life of someone who calls the street home.”