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Coalition Supports Plan to House Chronically Homeless

By blogdowntown Staff
Published: Thursday, December 02, 2010, at 05:24PM
_IGP0173 Ed Fuentes

A man lies sprawled on a Skid Row sidewalk in a 2008 file photo.

Three years ago, Los Angeles County embarked upon Project 50, a pilot program to identify Skid Row’s most needy homeless people and target them for special care. Now, a coalition of community leaders have endorsed Home for Good, an ambitious plan backed by United Way and the Chamber of Commerce to expand that effort and house Los Angeles County’s estimated 18,000 veterans and chronically homeless within five years.

At a gathering at the California Science Center on Wednesday, the group pledged to allocate $230 million annually for housing, counseling and treatment. Although L.A. County’s chronically homeless make up only 25 percent of that population, their precarious condition results in consumption of 75 percent of the region’s annual $875 million spent on services to manage homelessness, including the use of emergency rooms, jails and shelters, according to a United Way/Chamber task force.

Also at Wednesday’s event, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced $13 million in grants, including awards for several Downtown service providers.

Most of that money, $9 million, is to be a catalyst for creation of 2,500 new permanent supportive housing units via the Corporation for Supportive Housing. The CSH will focus on homeless veterans and other vulnerable homeless people who are cycling through jails, prisons and foster care. CSH also will have access to another $6 million in funds awarded earlier by the Hilton Foundation.

$3.6 million is allocated to identify and house 4,500 of the most vulnerable people on the streets, $750,000 will go to the Skid Row Housing Trust for permanent housing efforts, $330,000 will go to the Downtown Women's Center for an innovative pilot program to ease the transition for 80 chronically homeless women into housing and $200,000 is to engage faith leaders and communities in the campaign.

That funding may give the Downtown Women’s Center a little something extra to celebrate on Friday, Dec. 10, when it opens its new home at 442 S. San Pedro. The festival will kick off at 10 a.m. with a procession beginning at their old home, 325 S. Los Angeles, and include performances by a diverse group of local entertainers, including the Center's D.I.V.A.S. (Dames Investing in Very Authentic Storytelling) and an all-female Mariachi Band. There will also be tours of the new building, public mural painting, holiday crafts and food.

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