The Los Angeles County Development Authority has been awarded 73 Housing Choice Vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as part of the Foster Youth to Independence initiative.
Nationwide, public housing agencies competed for a portion of the vouchers that was made available by the Federal agency, to provide housing assistance to youth between 18 and 24 years old, who left foster care or are in the process of leaving foster care, and are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The FYI is made possible in partnership with Public Child Welfare Agencies. In Los Angeles County, the LACDA will partner with the Department of Children and Family Services to obtain referrals for youth and provide housing assistance for up to 36 months. Supportive services will also be provided to assist the youth on their path to self-sufficiency, including basic life skills training, housing counseling, landlord support services, employment and training, as well as education and career advancement services. The County’s Department of Health Services is also part of the partnership and will provide administrative oversight to ensure the delivery of services, while the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority will operate the Coordinated Entry System for Youth in an effort to prioritize housing and services for the most vulnerable.
“It is the agency’s goal to contribute to HUD’s commitment of preventing and ending youth homelessness,” said Emilio Salas, executive director of the LACDA. “In 2020, the greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found 4,775 youth experiencing homelessness, which includes 18-24 year old Transition Aged Youth. Resources such as the FYI, will help keep youth housed while also providing necessary resources to assist their transition into adulthood.”
“Compared to their peers, youth transitioning out of foster care are more likely to face housing instability or to become unhoused,” said Bobby D. Cagle, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. “Among the biggest obstacles for these young people is securing stable housing. At DCFS, everything we do is fueled by our desire to see all youth in foster care reach their highest potential. The Foster Youth Independence initiative makes us hopeful that those who benefit from this effort will have greater opportunities to thrive.”
“L.A. Health Services is committed to advancing the health of those we serve through our integrated whole-person health care system which centers around the complex needs of our unique patients,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the Department of Health Services. “L.A. Health services knows that the well-being of youth depends on our ability to provide whole-person care at the clinical setting and beyond; ensuring that foster youth have their most fundamental needs met is key to improving their health outcomes.”
“We have worked diligently to build a youth rehousing system that addresses the housing needs of foster youth to help end their homelessness as quickly as possible. We have doubled the number of youths housed annually since Los Angeles County passed Measure H in 2017,” said Heidi Marston, LAHSA executive director. “To keep this momentum going, our government partners must invest more in housing. These 73 vouchers are an important step towards meeting the needs of those who are exiting the foster system in Los Angeles County.”
As the County’s housing authority, the LACDA administers over 25,000 Housing Choice Vouchers and manages 2,962 public housing units and 267 affordable housing units. For more information on the LACDA’s programs, please view the agency’s brochure, LACDA Connected.