Three local nonprofit organizations that work to house the chronically homeless have been awarded a total of $4.7 million in housing subsidies from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department.
The “Shelter Plus Care” program grants, which provide rental subsidies, or vouchers, for a five-year period, were awarded to the Venice Community Housing Corporation ($1.13 million), Santa Monica-based Step Up on Second ($1.98 million) and OPCC of Santa Monica ($1.7 million). To qualify, the providers must match the value of the vouchers with spending on health care, case management or other services, according to county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s office.
All three non-profits are committed to permanent supportive housing, which combines long-term residences with customized health care and social services for vulnerable homeless people.
Steve Clare, Venice Community Housing Corporation executive director, said the federal funding will help house 20 homeless people with disabilities at the new Horizon Apartments, a 20-unit building the corporation is renovating a half block from the beach.
The acquisition of this building was made possible through a $750,000 forgivable loan from the city of Los Angeles, recommended by Councilman Bill Rosendahl, and a loan from the Corporation of Supportive Housing. Funds for rehabilitation and permanent financing were provided by the state’s Mental Health Services Act and the governor’s Homeless Initiative, as well by grants in the amount of $250,000 from L.A. County, recommended by Yaroslavsky and The Ahmanson Foundation.
The HUD award is the last piece of the financing puzzle for this project, and the housing corporation expects to complete rehabilitation of the building and begin leasing up the units by early next year, Clare said.
A housing waiting list will be established through the county Department of Mental Health and St. Joseph Center, which will provide case management and support services to the clients to help ensure that they access the medical and mental health services that they need to sustain their housing, Clare noted.
The HUD funding will allow OPCC to continue to expand its services to more at-risk homeless persons living on the streets, said John Maceri, OPCC executive director. For Step Up on Second, the award will be used to assist the social service organization as it launches its new Step Up on Vine project in Hollywood, said Tod Lipka, Step Up on Second chief executive.