Los Angeles County’s latest round of Homekey 3.0 grants will create 113 apartments for people experiencing homelessness, including youth and young adults, in Exposition Park, Hollywood and Lancaster.
The State of California announced a combined total of $37.2 million in Homekey 3.0 grants to Los Angeles County and its nonprofit partners to develop 55 units of interim housing for youth and young adults and 58 units of permanent housing with supportive services for individuals who are elderly and/or have physical and/or behavioral health disabilities.
With these latest grants, the County now has 28 Homekey projects with a combined 1,700 units.
“Homekey has been critical to creating much-needed housing for people experiencing homelessness and these latest grants will benefit those who are particularly vulnerable,” Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative Executive Director Cheri Todoroff said. “By combining Homekey with other state and local funding sources, we’ll be able to provide our young, older, and medically fragile residents a safe place to stay as well as supportive services.”
LA County will collaborate with Wellnest Emotional Health & Wellness to develop The Nest at Exhibition Park. Using modular construction, it will provide 25 new interim homes for “transition age youth,” including youth exiting the foster care or juvenile probation systems. Sixteen of the homes will be set aside for participants in the County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Transitional Housing Program Plus (THP+).
Meanwhile, LA County will partner with Covenant House to convert the Hollywood Downtowner Motel into 30 interim homes for transition age youth experiencing homelessness, with nine units dedicated to THP+ participants. All residents will have access to wrap-around services, including mental health supports.
In the past, agencies serving THP+ participants often struggled to find landlords willing to provide suitable units. With both The Nest and Downtowner projects, LA County innovatively combined two state funding sources – THP+ and Homekey 3.0 – to develop housing dedicated to this particularly vulnerable population.
“For too many young people exiting foster care, this funding is a needed lifeline,” DCFS Director Brandon T. Nichols said. “This money will not only offer young people shelter; it also will help us provide an array of services to prevent the next generation of unhoused. These funds will allow our youth to take a first, sturdy step toward independence. Our ultimate goal is always to give former foster youth every opportunity to succeed.”
In Lancaster, LA County is partnering with Hope the Mission to renovate three hotels along Sierra Highway to create 58 units of permanent supportive housing (PSH), as well as two manager’s units.
Typically, PSH sites utilize “project-based vouchers,” which are scarce federal rental subsidies attached to the units in a particular building. Because no project-based vouchers were available for this project, LA County innovated with local managed care health plans, L.A. Care and Health Net, to support the use of “tenant-based vouchers” at this site, and others. Tenant-based vouchers, which are attached to the tenant rather than the unit, are more readily available but can create financial instability for sites should a tenant move, or vacancies occur for other reasons.
Following the Board of Supervisors’ emergency declaration on homelessness earlier this year, L.A. Care and Health Net committed $114 million through the Housing and Homelessness Incentive Program (HHIP) to help increase the availability of permanent housing units in the private rental market for tenant-based subsidy holders experiencing homelessness. A portion of those HHIP funds will help provide certain Homekey projects with financial stability by allowing for the use of tenant-based vouchers in the units that lack project-based vouchers.