Los Angeles received $60 million in federal funding Thursday to address homelessness as part of what officials described as a first-of-its-kind grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The funding will go to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which coordinates services for the unhoused in both the city and county. Nationwide, HUD awarded $315 million to 46 communities to address unsheltered and rural homelessness. Los Angeles and Chicago were the two communities to receive the maximum amount of funding.
The money will be used for outreach and funding motels and other shelters along with permanent housing, according to new LAHSA CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum. It will also be used to support Mayor Karen Bass’ Inside Safe initiative, which aims to bring encampment residents indoors.
“It is very, very nice to begin my day with a $60 million check,” Bass said at a briefing at City Hall, adding that it was important to have every level of government in alignment to address the homelessness crisis.
Doug Guthrie, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, said that the $60 million will be spent quickly and wisely. Guthrie said it will allow the city to provide more housing vouchers to people living in encampments, in addition to deep wraparound services and housing navigation.
In applying for the grant, communities had to present a “comprehensive approach for addressing unsheltered homelessness” that included coordination with health care providers, other housing agencies and people with lived experience, according to Jason Pu, regional administrator for HUD.
Bass, who declared a state of emergency over homelessness upon taking office, has made an effort to connect with officials at the county and federal level to address the crisis.
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, chair of the council’s housing and homelessness committee, said that the renewed sense of urgency around the issue “won’t mean anything unless we are able to get federal dollars to be able to get us out of this crisis.”
“I am so pleased, grateful and thankful that HUD heard us,” Raman said.