L.A. County Launches “Homes for Heroes”

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to allocate $5 million to launch the “Homes for Heroes” program, to better connect homeless veterans with housing.  On a motion from Supervisor Don Knabe and Board Chair Hilda L. Solis, the Board approved funding and an 18-month plan to serve at least 1,000 homeless veterans.

Late last year, the Board allocated $5 million and requested a specific implementation plan for housing veterans.  Today, the Board approved a program with seven specific strategies, including Bridge Housing Strategy, which will work with existing housing providers to serve an estimated 80 vets at any given time with shelter beds while they secure permanent housing; the “Rent to a Veteran” Landlord Incentive Program, which provides landlords with incentives to commit to renting units to homeless vets; and the Move-In Cost Grant Program, which will provide approximately 500 veterans with grants to cover move-in costs, such as security deposits, utility turn-on fees and moving costs.

“One of the challenges in housing our homeless vets has been identifying housing for them, even when they had a voucher in hand,” said Supervisor Knabe.  “It was taking vets 90 days or longer to find an apartment.  With these new programs, I am hoping that we can shorten that timeframe and get those who deserve our help the most into a safe place to get their lives back on track.”

“Our veterans, both men and women, have sacrificed so much for our country. They put their lives on the line to protect our country and our freedom that we all cherish so much,” Chair Hilda L. Solis said. “Now, it’s our turn to help them by ensuring they receive the attention they deserve so that they do not end up homeless and forgotten. I am proud to co-author this motion. In addition to funding an advocacy program, we will be helping support veterans who struggle to pay rent or who need assistance with moving, move-in costs or paying for utilities.”

With the implementation of these programs, about $1.2 million of the $5 million earmarked for veterans will remain and will be a part of the package of recommended strategies from the Homeless Initiative to be submitted for Board consideration in February 2016.