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NEW legislation has the potential to help move forward the goal of ending chronic and veteran homelessness in a real way! Below are brief descriptions about these pieces and links to further resources on these exciting opportunities for our LA community and those chronic and veteran homeless potentially impacted by the funding and services these pieces could bring to our local community. 
 
 
AB639 Welcomes our Brave Veterans Home the Right Way

Veterans living in California may finally be able to return home with the passing of AB639. This legislation, recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown, will help reallocate funds to target California’s homeless Veteran population. As stated by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi, co-author of the legislation, “Our veterans have risked their lives and fought for our freedom and it is only right that we now fight to protect them. Once approved by the voters [in the June 2014 primary election], [AB639] will get the resources moving to help our veterans and their families.”

Almost one fourth of the nation’s Veteran homeless population resides in California and although Proposition 12, which was passed in 2008, was meant to remedy this housing situation, there were structural issues that did not allow many Veterans to access the $900 billion in bonds available through the program for the purchase of single family homes, farms, and mobile homes. AB 639, which was introduced by Speaker John A. Perez, makes these funds more accessible by expanding the types of housing supported, including permanent supportive housing, and repurposing $600 million of the bond in support of “affordable multifamily housing and services for veterans and their families.”

 

AB361 Relief for MediCal Enrollees with Chronic Conditions

AB 361 impacts United Way’s community partners and their clients by providing care coordination for MediCAL patients suffering from chronic medical conditions. Chronically ill patients make up about 25% of the homeless population and yet utilize about 75% of public resources . The CA State Department of Healthcare Services will administer AB361 to address the needs of chronically ill patients enrolled in MediCAL, who have been accessing medical care through urgent care or emergency facilities, by establishing preventative healthcare measures through a specialized care coordination system called “health homes.” The Health Homes program will assemble teams of primary, clinical, and community medical and mental health providers to work collaboratively in providing the most effective care for each chronically ill patient. This program will allow for the health community to catch medical conditions before they worsen prompting visits to emergency care facilities. Overall, AB361 will be implemented to promote better outcomes for both patient and public resources by providing a continuum of care for chronic patients.

For more general information on Health Homes Program and eligibility requirements, please visit: http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Long-Term-Services-and-Support/Integrating-Care/Health-Homes/Health-Homes.html

 

Thank you to all those who sent out letters and contacted your representatives to push forward these policies. Please continue to follow our blog for more legislative updates, and keep advocating for change!

MV FundingThe President has proposed that Congress provide $2.38 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2014 for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants – a 19 percent increase over the final, sequestered level in FY 2013. Now, it’s up to us to ensure Congress follows through on the recommendation.

Please join us in writing letters to California Senators and your local Representative to ask them to support a funding level of $2.38 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs. Without an increase in funding, Los Angeles County won’t be able to continue existing CoC and ESG activities.

Representatives are likely to be voting on a HUD funding bill in the next few weeks! So, we need YOUR help to convince them to include a funding level of $2.38 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs.

What You Can Do:

Write a letter! Ask your colleagues and clients to write letters, too! A letter template is attached below for download. Tell the National Alliance to End Homelessness who you contacted! Email Julie Klein at jklein@naeh.org

Why is this important? When Should You Act?

To have the greatest impact, everyone should send letters at the same time, from now through June 30. The House and Senate are about to begin writing, releasing, and voting on funding bills, so NOW is the time to start influencing our Members of Congress so we can make sure they prioritize funding for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs.

The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) made a HUGE difference in Los Angeles County. But with HPRP funds gone and sequestration putting a tremendous strain on our homeless assistance systems, we need further federal investment to keep homelessness from rising, to continue funding existing ESG and CoC activities, and to implement the HEARTH Act, with its focus on proven solutions like homelessness prevention, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing.

Want more information? Have questions? Contact Julie Klein at the National Alliance to End Homelessness at jklein@naeh.org.

Download the template: McKinney Sample Letter to Members

Veterans

Assembly Bill 639 (the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act) would help adapt California’s resources to better meet the changing dynamics of its Veteran population. While still preserving a portion of money intended to assist Veterans who wish to purchase single family homes, AB 639 would allow voters to decide on redistributing $600 million to focus on rehabilitating multifamily Veterans’ housing. By focusing on Veterans who are at risk for or who are currently homeless, this bill will help meet the growing demand among California’s Veterans for multifamily and supportive housing. These proven and cost-effective models decrease public costs and provide a wider range of housing options more representative of California’s Veteran population.

California leads the nation with 19,000 homeless Veterans – nearly one-fourth of the country’s entire population. Let’s move our state from being the country’s leader in number of homeless Veterans to a trailblazer in helping reach the national goal of ending Veteran homelessness by 2015!

A fact sheet and sample letter of support for the bill can both be obtained HERE. Please join us in supporting this important bill, and the brave men and women who risk their lives every day for our country. 

Assembly Bill 361

Help create a healthcare system that maximizes our resources and meets everyone’s healthcare needs – endorse Assembly Bill 361!

Nearly half of California’s Medi-Cal funds are spent on 4% of the population. The funds spent on these “frequent users” are often the result of reoccurring emergency room visits and a lack of available in-home care. Rising healthcare costs, coupled with a lack of appropriate care for California’s most vulnerable residents (including many chronically homeless individuals), have continuously been a problem for the state. 

AB 361 promises to alleviate the burdens on our healthcare system through comprehensive healthcare services.  The bill will allow California to provide “health home services” – such as outreach services, intensive case management, hospital discharge planning, and connection to social services – that have been proven to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs for the “frequent users” and chronically homeless populations. Furthermore, it will not cost the state a dime, but will be paid for by a combination of federal, county, and private investment funds (including a two-year commitment from the California Endowment to fund the entire non-federal share of the costs for the Health Home program).

Let’s lower state healthcare costs, bring more federal resources to the state, and, most importantly, improve healthcare services for those who need them the most! We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation, and add your organization’s name and voice to helping this bill become a reality.   

Company and organizational endorsements for the bill are currently being collected by its author, Assembly Member Holly Mitchell. These endorsements are critical to demonstrating Californians’ support for the bill. A sample letter of support for AB 361 can be downloaded HERE!

2.19.13 Homeless Count

Last month, over 5,000 volunteers participated in the 2013 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count! Led by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), this countywide effort was the largest count in the history of Los Angeles County, with 72 cities and 21 communities opting to be fully enumerated.

The Homeless Count is over - what’s next? Numbers for the count will be released in mid-summer. As the homeless capital of the United States, these numbers are especially critical for L.A., ensuring that resources are available and services are effectively reaching those most in need. Count numbers will provide updated data on our homeless population, helping Home For Good refine the Action Plan’s strategy by highlighting regions of greatest need. By knowing where our homeless neighbors reside we will be able to better target cities for engagement, working to ensure that every community is dedicating resources to house homeless individuals in their jurisdiction.

Now that you have volunteered for the Homeless Count, how can you stay involved? 

  • Share feedback about your volunteer experience by taking LAHSA’s online survey! This will help LAHSA improve LA County’s Homeless Count, assuring successful volunteer recruitment and accurate data in the years to come.
  • Address homelessness in your community by hosting a “community conversation.” This is an opportunity to invite people in your neighborhood to learn about the causes and solutions to homelessness, connect with a local service provider, and advocate for change. If you are interested in hosting a community conversation, please email us at homeforgoodla@unitedwayla.org
  • Participate in the pilot Home For Good companionship program. This program is aimed at providing social supports for formerly homeless individuals now living in permanent housing and, if successful, will be expanded throughout Los Angeles County. We need volunteers for the pilot program. If you are interested in being part of this wonderful opportunity please fill out an application by clicking here.

For more ways to stay involved, visit Six Ways to Get Involved With Home For Good.

 

More than 130,000 people are homeless on any given night in California.  Many others spend over 30% of their income on housing. Every day, thousands of families, veterans, former foster youth, people with disabilities and seniors struggle to obtain and maintain a roof over their heads. California needs more affordable housing. How can we help assure that we have the resources we need to create affordable housing?

CA Homes and Jobs Act

This year Housing California and the California Housing Consortium, along with a diverse coalition of housing advocates, are leading an effort to adopt the California Homes and Jobs Act. What will the CA Homes and Jobs Act help achieve? The proposed bill will generate an estimated $500 million in annual revenue for direct investment in affordable homes and jobs, and leverage an additional $2.78 billion in federal, local, and private funding. How will the CA Homes and Jobs Act generate funds? The bill will place a $75 fee on the recordation of real-estate related documents — excluding home sales — and deposit these funds into a state housing trust fund. The revenue will be invested into public-private partnership programs modeled on California’s existing, successful affordable home programs.

California desperately needs a permanent, ongoing source of funding dedicated to affordable housing development! The California Homes and Jobs Act will be introduced on February 20th. Company and organizational endorsements for the bill are currently being collected. These endorsements are a powerful way to communicate support for the bill. Endorsements can be made by visiting www.californiahomesandjobsact.org

We hope you will join us is support of this important legislation and add your organization’s name to the coalition that is being built to support this effort.  

Yesterday, hundreds of people came together to voice their opposition to the proposed Community Care Facilities Ordinance (CCFO). In a huge victory for the Stop CCFO Coalition, city council withheld a vote and established a working group to revise the ordinance. The working group is scheduled to report back in 90 days, making necessary changes to eliminate the negative impacts initially set forth under the CCFO.

“This is a major win, against tremendous odds, for the thousands of responsible, courageous Angelenos who rely on shared housing,” said Elise Buik, CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “We thank the city council for recognizing the seriousness of this issue and for agreeing to develop an alternative ordinance that strengthens enforcement at nuisance properties while protecting housing for the city’s most vulnerable residents.”

The Stop CCFO Coalition, which continues to grow and now includes more than 160 organizations, packed city council chambers this yesterday morning. Speakers opposing the CCFO included Maria Elena Durazo (County Federation of Labor), Anne Williams (Central City Association) and Marqueece Harris-Dawson (Community Coalition), all of whom drew thunderous applause from the crowd. Councilmembers Richard Alarcon and Bill Rosendahl spoke out passionately against the current draft of the ordinance.

Thank you to all that have fought against the CCFO. Yesterday was a testament to the power of collaborative work and the strength of the Stop CCFO Coalition!

Stop CCFO Coalition – Press Release

 

The Community Care Facilities Ordinance (CCFO) is scheduled to be heard before City Council this Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at Los Angeles City Hall.

The CCFO threatens shared housing in the City of Los Angeles, an option used by thousands to make housing affordable. The CCFO puts people at risk of losing their homes and ending up on our streets. Los Angeles is already the homeless capital of the nation; we need to find ways to end this problem, not make it worse!

In preparation for Wednesday’s hearing, the StopCCFO Coalition is calling for supporters to take the following actions:

1)      CALL YOUR COUNCILMEMBER. Call-in days, Monday, January 28th and Tuesday, January 29th from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Please call your councilmember and urge him/her to vote NO on CCFO. You can also email your councilmember by clicking here and using the United Way of Greater Los Angeles advocacy page.

2)      ATTEND RALLY AT CITY HALL. On Wednesday, January 30th, before entering the Council Chambers, the StopCCFO Coalition will hold a rally at 9:00 AM on the South Side of City Hall (200 N Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012). RSVP on Facebook.

3)      TESTIFY IN FRONT OF COUNCIL. Tell councilmembers that we need more affordable housing options in the City of Los Angeles, not less! Express your opposition to the CCFO by completing a comment card as soon as you enter the Council Chambers at City Hall, Room 340.

Below you will find a list of districts and councilmembers in the City of Los Angeles. If you do not know your councilmember, click here to use your address to identify your representative.

Councilmembers and their contact information:

District 1: Ed Reyes (213) 473-7001

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District 2: Paul Krekorian (213) 473-7002

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Twitter: @PaulKrekorian

District 3: Dennis P. Zine (213) 473-7003

District 4: Tom LaBonge (213) 473-7004

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Twitter: @TomLaBonge

District 5: Paul Koretz (213) 473-7005

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District 6: Tony Cardenas (213) 473-7006

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Twitter: @tonycardenassfv

District 7: Richard Alarcon (213) 473-7007

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Twitter: @Richard_Alarcon

District 8: Bernard Parks (213) 473-7008

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Twitter: @BernardCParks

District 9: Jan Perry (213) 473-7009

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Twitter: @cd9news

District 10: Herb J. Wesson Jr. (213) 473-7010

District 11: Bill Rosendahl (213) 473-7011

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Twitter: @Bill_Rosendahl

District 12: Mitchell Englander (213) 473-7012

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Twitter: @CD12News

District 13: Eric Garcetti (213) 473-7013

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Twitter: @Eric_Garcetti

District 14: Jose Huizar (213) 473-7014

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Twitter: @josehuizar

District 15: Jose Buscaino (213) 473-7015

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Twitter: @LA15th

 

 

2.19.13 Homeless CountThis week, the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count will be conducted. This countywide effort, led by Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority every two years, relies on over 5,000 volunteers, like you, to collect accurate information on L.A.’s current homeless population.  As the homeless capital of the United States, this count is especially critical for L.A., ensuring that resources are available and services are effectively reaching those most in need. Join us in working to end homelessness by signing up as a Count volunteer today!

Over 1,000 volunteers are still needed for this year’s count! Volunteers will give 3-5 hours of their time one (or more) nights to support the count. They will serve as counters, trainers, deployment center coordinators, and more. Volunteers can sign up as individuals, groups, or teams, selecting the day and site that works best for them.  Volunteers are still needed for the following service areas:

  • Tuesday, January 29, 2013 (8PM) – San Gabriel Valley, East/Southeast LA
  • Wednesday, January 30, 2013 (8PM) –  South Bay

For descriptions of volunteer roles, frequently asked questions, and to SIGN UP as a volunteer, visit www.theycountwillyou.org!

Your COUNT will ensure they COUNT! So can we COUNT on you to volunteer this January?

Yesterday’s Stop CCFO press conference was featured in today’s Daily News. Here is what the newspaper had to say,

“A coalition of religious and community leaders joined housing advocates on Thursday in opposing a measure that would place strict regulations on boarding houses throughout the city.

Calling itself the STOP CCFO (Community Care Facilities Ordinance), the group began a lobbying campaign urging city officials to change or reject Councilman Mitch Englander’s proposal.

“If this goes ahead as it is written, it will take us back to 1955 when redlining was the rule,” and minorities were barred from living in certain neighborhoods, said Greg Spiegel, director of public policy of the Inner City Law Center. “

The article goes on to quote Jason Mandel of United Way who states,

“…the problems with the policy are seen by the different groups that oppose it.

“When the Central City Association, L.A. Chamber, AFL-CIO, homeless advocates, and 19 neighborhood councils are all on the same side of a policy battle, it says a lot about how flawed the policy is,” Mandel said.

“By eliminating a significant chunk of affordable housing, the ordinance would force people onto the streets … and would take housing away from veterans, the elderly who can’t afford to live anywhere else and can’t live independently and the disabled.” “

Read the full article