Home LA Fund – A Pathway to Affordable Housing
March 17, 2022
By Maria Cabildo, Housing & Economic Opportunity Director
Like you, the marked increase of people living in encampments along our freeways, riverbeds, and streets causes me distress and anger. I am a lifelong Angeleno, and sometimes I don’t recognize my city. Los Angeles used to be a city where factory workers and teachers could rent and even buy homes. Affordable housing is increasingly out of reach. According to the California Housing Partnership, LA County has a nearly 500,000-unit shortfall of units affordable to low-income families.
I take a daily walk in my neighborhood near Occidental College. Because of our quiet streets, I have noticed more RVs and cars parked overnight along the college’s periphery. On a recent walk, I saw a car where someone was clearly living. There was a nicely pressed security guard uniform hanging by the window. I wonder how many people we interact with daily as we visit the post office, pick up take-out, or go to the market are experiencing housing instability or even homelessness. People experiencing homelessness work, go to school and live in our communities.
Thanks to the California Community Foundation, my distress and anger over the increase in people experiencing homelessness transforms into hope and productivity. Thanks to the generosity of our HOME LA Fund donors, we recently made over a dozen grants to organizations helping our fellow Angelenos experiencing homelessness find shelter. Including a grant to Shower of Hope, a multi-strategy nonprofit that provides community college students experiencing homelessness a safe place to park their car for the night. Our grant supported a partnership between Shower of Hope and Maryvale to provide interim housing for female community college students experiencing houselessness and housing instability while they finish their AA degree.
A vital part of a permanent solution to our homelessness crisis is producing new housing and preserving existing naturally occurring affordable housing. Because of this, our focus remains on supporting the production of permanently affordable housing. We do this by advocating for changes in land use policy, helping nonprofit developers pay for their staff through grant funding, and helping them finance their projects.
We provide the earliest dollars in an affordable housing project through our Home LA Loan Fund. When these early loans are paid back with construction loan proceeds, the funds get reinvested into new projects. Your initial investment has leveraged over $155 million in financing the early-stage development of housing projects that will produce 3,077 homes for Angelenos and has attracted $1.5 billion in permanent public and private funding sources. In the coming months, we plan to share these successes with you.
The next time you see an encampment of people experiencing homelessness and feel distressed and angry, think of the hundreds of individuals and families that now have a home because of the Home LA Loan Fund and the thousands more that will follow in 2022 and beyond. Remain hopeful because people experiencing homelessness haven’t given up. They are putting on their security guard uniform and going to work. They see a path to a better future through community college. They will find a home if we stay productive and hopeful.
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