A New Door and a New Beginning
“The key meant a new door and a new beginning,” Priscilla shared as she reflected on what it meant to move her family into affordable housing after transitioning out of homelessness. Priscilla and her husband, Ryan, were forced to leave their apartment after rent increases became untenable. With two small children, Priscilla and Ryan moved from hotel to hotel – occasionally sleeping in their car – until they connected with LA Family Housing (LAFH), where they received a continuum of supportive services and ultimately a new place to call home.
LAFH originated in 1983 with a 40-unit motel in North Hollywood where families could stay for up to 30 days. Today, it’s one of Los Angeles’ largest providers of housing and homeless services, with 26 properties offering temporary, permanently affordable, and permanent supportive housing, and services that help more than 11,000 people each year move toward greater stability and self-sufficiency.
"Our homeless neighbors are best served when supportive services, health care, and housing are integrated, providing permanent solutions to end homelessness in their lives," said Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, LA Family Housing’s president and CEO.
In June 2019, LAFH opened a new Campus centralizing its operations and those of community partners to provide LAFH clients ‒ and the public at large ‒ with employment services, housing assistance, legal aid, as well as medical, mental health, and dental care. Bringing everything together under one roof helps remove the barrier of clients having to traverse LAFH’s 275-mile service region to access services.
NFF first worked with LAFH leadership in 2017, providing deep financial analysis to understand LAFH’s business model performance and capital structure health. Together, NFF and LAFH identified key considerations for planning future growth and adaptation in response to changing market needs and complex funding dynamics.
A long time in the making, the vision for the Campus was guided by LAFH’s four core values of dignity, leadership, collaboration, and perseverance – combining best practices and a whatever-it-takes, as-long-as-it-takes approach.
LAFH’s model of using an individualized approach to meet each program participant’s needs works: 97 percent of LAFH tenants retain long-term housing, which can translate to significant cost savings for Los Angeles. According to a report by the Economic Roundtable, Where We Sleep, the average annual cost of supportive housing for one person is an estimated $20,484 versus $34,764 (including costs for hospitals, clinics, paramedics, police/courts, jail, and welfare services) for people living on the streets.
“Although we moved more people into permanent homes last year than ever before, the Homeless Count shows that the inflow of people into homelessness continues to grow due to the housing shortage and stagnant wages. We must continue to scale up solutions we know are working to meet the size of the problem, invest in prevention, and rally support for the development of new housing in our neighborhoods,” said Katie Tell, LA Family Housing’s Chief Development Officer.
The 80,000-square-foot Campus was financed through Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credits, private foundations and individual donors, public grants, land contributions, debt, and sponsor equity. NFF, in collaboration with Dignity Health and Genesis LA Economic Growth Corporation, provided $8.35 million of loans.
"NFF bridged a critical financing need, which allowed us to move forward with the second phase of our transformative Campus development, a regional hub that will serve thousands in our community,” said Stephanie.