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May 15, 2024 | 1,459 total views

May 14, 2024 

Media Contacts:  

Huáscar Robles; hrobles@lahsa.org  

A Special Task Force, community engagement, and key staff  will help address a growing trend. 

Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) announced a series of actions to address the rise of Latinos experiencing homelessness. Poverty, lack of affordable housing, and the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated Latino homelessness. The number of Latinos experiencing homelessness rose by 26% between 2020 and 2022. The City and County of Los Angeles, along with LAHSA, are endeavoring to understand the root of the problem and taking steps to reverse the trend.  

On October 18, 2022, the Board of Supervisors directed the County CEO’s Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (ARDI) group and LAHSA to evaluate gaps in the LA area’s rehousing system, develop strategies, and advance policy. In the 2023 Point-in-Time homeless count, Latinos represented 43% of our unsheltered neighbors. These alarming figures prompted the need to identify causes, research solutions, and build an action roadmap.  

“While there is no single solution to homelessness, LAHSA is looking to understand the driving factors behind the increase in Latino homelessness we’ve seen in recent years,” LAHSA CEO Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum said. “We are committed not only to understanding cultural factors and language limitations but also learning from community stakeholders’ lived experience to understand better what we can do to educate and provide services for this population.” 

The Office of Immigrant Affairs, Health Services, and Children and Family Services were among the several agencies, non-profits, and faith-based organizations that contributed to gathering data, exploring barriers such as language limitations, and analyzing Latinos’ equitable access to social services. The working groups and task force relied heavily on community engagement, conducting listening sessions with diverse stakeholders, including Latinos with lived experience. Incorporating knowledge and best practices from previous efforts – LAHSA’s  report on immigrants and undocumented people experiencing homelessness and the Black People Experiencing Homelessness Ad Hoc Committee – the initiative has achieved the following actions:  

  • Latinos Experiencing Homelessness Summit: Around 300 stakeholders convened to evaluate data, assess barriers, and develop recommendations. 

  • Inter-Agency Workgroup: The summit led ARDI and LAHSA to develop a roadmap to address Latinos Experiencing Homelessness and opportunities for immediate action. The group provided insight into the root causes of Latino Homelessness and identified factors that impede access to resources for Latin-American and Hispanic communities.  

  • Task Force on Latinx Homelessness: A multi-stakeholder group of representatives from LAHSA, the City, County, and community-based organizations united to align their efforts. The Task Force works directly with the community, conducting public engagement events and listening sessions. The Task Force will release its report in the second half of 2024.  

  • City of Los Angeles Latino/a Homelessness Advisory Group: Under the leadership of José “Che” Ramírez, this group focused on immediate action steps. 

  • LAHSA Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): LAHSA’s Equity Department undertook immediate action steps specifically tied to Latino homelessness: 

  • Key Staff Hiring: 

  • Harvard fellow Camila De La Vega evaluates LAHSA’s outreach training and practices.  

  • Senior Advisor Norma Guerrero-Lewis assesses LAHSA’s internal equity. 

  • LAHSA’s first Spanish-language Communications Specialist, Huáscar Robles, develops public relations strategies for Spanish-language media.  

  • LAHSA will also analyze its Spanish-language capacity and potential for bilingual staff. 

  • Consulate work: LAHSA has met with the Mexican, Salvadorian, and Belizean consulates to discuss supporting immigrants and undocumented clients in obtaining vital documentation to access resources.  

  • Resource Guide: LAHSA developed a bilingual guide within its website to highlight benefits and resources available to all, regardless of documentation status. 

  • Surveys: LAHSA implemented two surveys, one to gauge if local funds were reaching undocumented individuals and another to glean data on the recent influx of migrant families.  

LAHSA and the City and County of Los Angeles will continue to engage stakeholders to develop further recommendations to reverse the rise of homelessness among Latinos. The Task Force on Latinx Homelessness will be key in identifying, addressing, and building solutions. The actions above represent only a fraction of this overarching enterprise. LAHSA will continue to report on this initiative as it develops with the help of our partners.