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Homelessness Report Offers Up Doom, Hope

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The U.S. Conference of Mayors has released its hunger and homelessness report, and much of the news, unsurprisingly, ain't good. In 2007, more than 5,200 LA households lost their homes to foreclosure, (the number is expected to spike this year and next) while over the last year, LA County reported a 10 percent increase in requests for emergency food assistance. But there's some bright spots—the city is implementing a program to minimize the number of families with children turned away from shelters, and the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative was launched to help distressed homeowners with free foreclosure counseling. LA has also adopted a five-year housing plan with the goal of building 20,000 more housing units, with most going to those making under $42,000.

U.S. Conference of Mayors 2008 Status Report on Hunger & Homelessness
Profile of Hunger in Los Angeles:

Over the last year, Los Angeles County reports a 10 percent increase in requests for emergency food assistance. The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank (LARF), a network of nearly 900 agencies in Los Angeles County, distributed almost 36 million pounds of food, up slightly from the year before. However, advocates estimate that thirty percent of the need for food assistance goes unmet in Los Angeles.
LARF works to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables to its member agencies through multiple distribution programs. The Rapid Food Distribution Program distributes produce to member agencies "just in time," eliminating the need for agencies to transport or store produce. The Front Dock Program helps member agencies shop daily for produce, while the Agency Drive Through allows agencies to access produce by car. LARF also analyzes each item's nutritional value, color coding its menu based on a food;s nutritional content so that agencies can make informed decisions on the food they distribute.

Profile of Homelessness in Los Angeles:
With increasing demand for homeless shelter services, the Los Angeles Continuum of Care plans to implement a centralized intake system for homeless families with children. This program will minimize the number of families turned away from shelters. In addition to this new system, the Permanent Supportive Housing Program, supported by $50 million a year from the City's Affordable Housing Trust Fund, is working to provide 2,200 additional units of permanent supportive housing
over the next five years.This past year, Project 50 was launched as a partnership between City and County departments, as well as nonprofit homeless service providers, in an effort to move the 50 most vulnerably chronically homeless individuals from the streets of Skid Row directly into permanent supportive housing. Moving forward, officials plan to use this program as a template for moving
chronically homeless individuals into permanent supportive housing.
In 2007, more than 5,200 households lost their homes to a foreclosure sale. That number is expected to rise significantly in 2008. The Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative, launched by Mayor Villaraigosa, is a multi-faceted approach to helping distressed homeowners through free foreclosure counseling in communities most affected by the foreclosure crisis. Los Angeles has also adopted a 5-year housing plan with a goal of building and preserving 20,000 units of housing across the income spectrum. The majority of these units will go to individuals and families earning
less than $42,000 per year.


· U.S. Conference of Mayors Hunger & Homelessness Report [PDF]
· Little Perspective [Curbed LA]