Promote affordable housing, combat homelessness and expand economic opportunity to create a prosperous and equitable future for all Angelenos.
It’s 9:30 on a Thursday morning and Eric Montoya is on the job. For Eric, it’s not just a job. It’s THE job—his first, his only and, one he’s been doing for 19 years. Eric went to work for LA Family Housing just a year after getting sober, and it changed his life.
Today, he’s on his way to see Sylvia. A homeless woman in her 50s, Sylvia has been living on the streets for years, but it’s getting harder and harder for her to be out there every day.
Elyssa Rosen, Director of Engagement, LA Family Housing and Bruce, Tenant, LA Family Housing
“She called me and said she felt like she might faint,” Eric said. “So, it was important to check on her today.”
He finds her in an encampment in the Sepulveda basin and she’s not doing well. When the simple act of getting water requires carrying a heavy jug more than a mile back to her tent, physical weakness can spiral quickly.
Sylvia is one of the nearly 58,000 Angelenos who experience homelessness every day. It’s a crisis of gargantuan proportions that affects every L.A. resident.
“Areas that never used to have homelessness now do,” said Elyssa Rosen, Director of Engagement at LA Family Housing, which has helped Angelenos transition out of homelessness for more than three decades. “It’s not hidden anymore. It’s in the street, on the sidewalks, in the parks, in front of libraries. It’s everywhere.”
In 2016, a group of funders and nonprofits came together with public and private sector partners to say, “no more.” The outcome of this unprecedented partnership was two ballot measures: L.A. City Proposition HHH and L.A. County Measure H.
Combined, they will generate $5 billion to increase housing production and provide services to help Angelenos escape homelessness or avoid becoming homeless in the first place.
“The triumph of Proposition HHH is a shining testament to the power of public-private partnerships,” said L.A. City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
A co-author of Proposition HHH, Councilmember Harris-Dawson sees the cross-sector nature of this coalition as the key to strengthening our region’s resiliency in the face of devastating homelessness rates. The focus on supportive housing, which stitches together affordable housing with services like health care, job training and case management, is evidence of what each sector brings to reinforce the safety net.
“Philanthropy demonstrates the viability of good ideas, then government brings them to scale,” Harris-Dawson said.
It’s a process that has continued as coalition members have created innovative new tools to allow for greater public transparency of how the H funds are being used and the impact they have created, from Proposition HHH and Measure H progress trackers to Everyone In’s 222 Tracker, which allows L.A. City residents to see how many units of supportive housing their councilmember has approved.
Director of Engagement, LA Family Housing
As we look at the progress that has been made since these ballot measures first passed, we find good news and bad. On the good side, they’ve helped house 20,000 of our neighbors, expanding the supply of supportive housing and increasing the services available to those facing homelessness.
But on the bad side, homelessness is still on the rise, up 12 percent over last year. Why? Skyrocketing rents, coupled with stagnant wages, are still pushing our neighbors onto the streets. Our homelessness crisis is just the tip of a much larger affordable housing crisis, one that will need the help of every sector if we hope to stop it.
One person can’t end homelessness in L.A., but today Eric has done his part. Working with the team at LA Family Housing, he was able to help Sylvia into temporary housing at a nearby hotel while they wait for something permanent to open up.
These are the moments that keep him going. After 19 years at LA Family Housing, and two decades out from his own struggles with homelessness and addiction, Eric understands the power of connection, hope and gratitude.