I have been very fortunate in my life, and I feel it is my responsibility to give back to those in need. To that end, I am a supporter of L.A. Family Housing, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency, transitional, and permanent housing for homeless families in the greater Los Angeles area.
Los Angeles has one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. According to L.A. Family Housing, only 13 percent of families in the area can afford to purchase an average-priced home, and two-thirds of Los Angeles-area renters cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rates. It is no wonder that Los Angeles has such a high homeless rate. The Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center estimates that 254,000 people were homeless in Los Angeles in 2009, and about 82,000 people in the area are homeless on any given night. More than one-third of those numbers consist of families made up of a single mother with at least two children.
L.A. Family housing is fighting to break the cycle of homelessness. In 2009, the organization helped approximately 8,700 people by providing emergency shelter for up to 90 days and transitional housing for up to two years. They also provide affordable permanent housing to nearly 1,000 residents, and the organization partners with other local agencies to provide information and referral. In order to support self-sufficiency, L.A. Family Housing also offers the Individual Development Account program, which teaches low-income families how to become homebuyers, and helps them secure funding and find homes for purchase.
In order to continue to support their ongoing initiatives to help the homeless, L.A. Family Housing needs volunteers and donations. To learn how you can help, visit their website, http://www.lafh.org.