Mar 15

Biden’s American Rescue Plan is a lifeline for low-income renters

  The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill signed by President Joe Biden last week, provides a range of benefits that will help lift millions out of poverty, especially children.   From emergency rental assistance directly helping low-income renters stay safe in their homes, to education funding, the aid that is most important to low-income renters have ...
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Mar 5

L.A. County won’t expand program to shelter homeless people in hotels

  Citing concerns about the budget, Los Angeles County officials said they don’t plan to expand the number of hotels they’re renting to shelter homeless people who are at risk of contracting COVID-19.   As of late last month, the county was renting 12 hotels with 1,350 rooms through a program known as Project Roomkey, according to a county report on the program ...
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Feb 15

Vaccinating the homeless population for COVID adds a whole new layer of difficulty

  For Lance Curtis, the journey to receive the COVID-19 vaccine began with a phone call from Los Angeles Christian Health Centers.   Doctors and nurses had culled a list of nearly 900 homeless people they wanted to vaccinate. Their outreach workers walked the streets of skid row preaching the gospel of Moderna’s two-shot salvation.   And they sought out people in the community’s large ...
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Feb 10

The history of homelessness in Los Angeles points to new approaches

  Homelessness in Los Angeles was already on the rise before COVID-19 struck. But the health and economic fallout of the pandemic has left many more low-income residents on the brink of housing insecurity.   While recent statewide legislation prevents evictions through June and creates options to help Angelenos pay back rent, the homelessness problem could worsen significantly as the pandemic and business ...
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Feb 4

This year’s homeless count was canceled. Is it time to rethink it?

  Los Angeles County’s annual homeless count is a civic ritual bringing thousands of volunteers together in a common cause. It is also a reckoning with the shortcomings of all that’s been done to salve the county’s most perplexing human crisis.   So its cancellation this year due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus has had a multifaceted fallout — a loss ...
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Jan 29

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bill to extend COVID-19 eviction protections through June

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed an emergency bill that will extend through June eviction protections for Californians suffering financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic, acting just days before an earlier moratorium was set to expire.   Newsom’s action on the legislation followed the measure’s approval Thursday by the state Legislature and was aimed at heading off what many state officials ...
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Jan 27

Letters to the Editor: L.A. can’t fix homelessness without the federal government’s help

  To the editor: Whether or not President Biden’s proposals for building more housing are politically possible, the urgency is clear: We need a national solution to homelessness that draws on the much larger federal budget and more far-reaching federal programs.   They offer our best hope for solving the many challenges of successfully housing our homeless neighbors. At Venice Family Clinic, we ...
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Jan 12

Councilman Kevin de León wants 25,000 housing units for homeless by 2025

  When the Los Angeles City Council opens its 2021 term on Tuesday, Councilman Kevin de León will introduce a range of motions with the goal of creating 25,000 new housing units for homeless people by 2025.   The former state Senate president pro tem made homelessness a centerpiece of his run for the seat that represents skid row and includes the most ...
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Jan 3

L.A. homeless sites ‘overwhelmed’ by COVID-19: ‘These are the toughest times’

The day after Christmas, Dr. Heidi Behforouz, medical director for L.A. County’s Housing for Health program, sent out a call of distress.   People living in skid row shelters were being diagnosed with dozens of new cases of COVID-19, and Behforouz needed a place to send them quickly to isolate.   The call went to the Rev. Andrew J. Bales, chief executive of the ...
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Jan 1

How the pandemic led to a rare success in California’s effort to house the homeless

Natosha Johnson sat in a chair in the apartment building lobby, looking exhausted and rubbing her legs as her four children shuttled trash bags full of the family’s possessions into an elevator and then into their new two-bedroom apartment.   “It’s such a relief to be here,” said Johnson, 41, whose fatigue was a symptom of her lupus. “Our cramped situation was ...
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