Posted on 10/24/2018

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that L.A. is the first city in California to receive its full disbursement of state Homeless Emergency Assistance Program (HEAP) dollars, and he immediately directed funds to two A Bridge Home projects — one in Hollywood and the other at the VA in West L.A.

The $85 million in HEAP dollars were awarded to the City for immediate assistance to people experiencing homelessness, with another $81 million awarded to the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority (LAHSA). Funding is flexible and can be used for capital; operating support; homelessness prevention; criminal justice diversion efforts for individuals with mental health challenges; services for homeless youth or those at risk of homelessness; and emergency aid like shelters, beds, voluntary storage, public bathrooms and shower facilities.

“We pushed for these dollars because the homelessness crisis demands urgent action, and we’re putting them to work immediately because our neighbors and neighborhoods can’t wait,” said Mayor Garcetti. “These funds will help us start getting people under a roof more quickly and giving our communities the additional relief they deserve.”

“We are thrilled that we were able to get this money to the city of Los Angeles so quickly,” said Alexis Podesta, Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency and Chair of the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council. “We’re also pleased that the city plans to use this money immediately to begin addressing its homelessness issues. We look forward to working with other cities and counties throughout the state to help them address homelessness.”

“These projects are exactly what was envisioned when the legislature created the Homeless Emergency Assistance Program,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “It's great to see the City of Los Angeles moving quickly to put these funds to work.”

“With work on our Bridge Home program well underway across the city, these funds could not have come at a better time,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the 13th Council District. “We’ll be able to get more people indoors more quickly coupled with the supportive services they need.”

“Homeless veterans sleeping on the streets of Los Angeles will soon have a safe and clean place to stay, thanks to our partnership with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and because of this funding,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the 11th Council District. “I am very excited that the first bridge housing facility on the Westside will move forward quickly, and that could not have happened without this funding from the state.”

“Los Angeles urgently needs this funding! Today, we will quickly put that money to work on real quality of life issues like Bridge Housing, funding for youth experiencing homelessness, homelessness prevention, showers and storage for those still on the streets, and sanitation to keep neighborhoods clean and healthy,” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson who represents the 8th Council District and chairs the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.

In early 2018, Mayor Garcetti led a coalition of California’s big city Mayors to call on Governor Brown to direct a portion of the state’s budget surplus to cities hardest hit by the statewide homeless crisis. In June, the Legislature passed and Governor Brown signed a budget that included $359 million for cities to spend on homelessness.

“My colleagues in the Legislature and I understand that truly ending homelessness requires collaboration across governments,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. “The $85 million allocated to the City of Los Angeles is key to getting more people off the streets and into safe housing. As the representative for Skid Row, I will continue finding solutions to end the homeless crisis in our state.”

“The homelessness crisis requires all hands on deck: city, county, and State resources must be deployed quickly and efficiently,” said Senator Ben Allen. “I’m proud to see state funding get directed to the critical needs of Hollywood. This facility is an important first step toward solving our broader challenges. I look forward to continue working with our local partners to end this crisis once and for all.”

“The homelessness crisis has devastated Los Angeles County, including many of the cities I represent,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom. “Bridge housing is essential to confronting this crisis and I am glad to see significant investments going to help those in desperate need.”

“Homelessness cannot be resolved with one action; it takes a collective of ideas, planning and political courage to find solutions,” said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo. “Our state’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds will strengthen A Bridge Home projects across our great city. I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell to address this crisis, public safety and helping those most in need.”

The first of these projects is in Hollywood, and will offer 70 beds for individuals currently encamped near the site. It has already received approval from the City Council and broke ground last week. This site will be supported with mental health, addiction, and job and housing placement specialists from People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and the Center at Blessed Sacrament. This project will receive a check for $1.67 million, and is projected to open in early 2019.

The City will also disburse funds to a project at the West Los Angeles campus of the VA that will offer 100 beds to veterans experiencing homelessness. This project has already received necessary approval from the City Council and will break ground in the coming weeks. These veterans will be supported with mental health professionals, addiction specialists, job and housing placement counselors from the Veterans Affairs Administration. This project will receive a check in the amount of $1.43 million, and is expected to open early next year.

Building on L.A.’s broader strategy to assist homeless Angelenos and those at risk of becoming homeless — which includes creating thousands of units of supportive housing, increasing the overall housing supply by at least 100,000 units, and working with the County to expand mental health services — the HEAP funds will allow the city to expedite the opening of A Bridge Home projects that are designed to help people come off the streets more quickly.