The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced that it has awarded a record-high $600,000 in General Community Grants—a 22 percent increase from last year—to three organizations that provide housing to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Among these groundbreaking initiatives seeking long-term solutions to L.A.’s homelessness crisis is one of the first projects in L.A. converting a motel into permanent supportive housing.
“Homelessness in Los Angeles has reached unprecedented levels – with alarming double-digit increases in the past year alone – and tens of thousands of individuals living without a roof over their heads each night,” said Foundation President and CEO Marvin I. Schotland. “We recognize that homelessness is a large-scale, complex problem that requires the kind of bold thinking and innovative interventions reflected by this year’s General Community Grant recipients to whom we are proud to provide our support.”
Schotland continued: “We expect the more immediate and direct outcome of these grants will be to provide hundreds of people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to transition to permanent housing. The greater outcome we hope for is that our investment will bring further attention to this pressing issue affecting us all, and encourage other funders and community leaders to step forward and work together to address it.”
The 2019 General Community Grant recipients—each awarded $200,000—include:
The grant to Brilliant Corners will support its Motel Conversion Project. The initiative is one of the first local motel conversions resulting from the Interim Motel Conversion Ordinance passed in 2018 by the City of Los Angeles. Brilliant Corners will renovate a mid-city L.A. motel and provide housing for dozens of individuals experiencing homelessness. With more than 380 motels in Los Angeles, totaling more than 10,000 rooms, many of which are eligible for conversion to permanent supportive housing, there is potential to scale this model. Brilliant Corners has a long-established track record of providing housing and implementing creative housing solutions. It plans to scale this project by providing technical assistance to other housing providers, so that hundreds more individuals can be housed.
William F. Pickel, CEO of Brilliant Corners, stated: “With this capital investment from the Jewish Community Foundation, Brilliant Corners and its partners—including the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Office of Diversion and Reentry—are excited to pilot the Motel Conversion Project to create new supportive housing in Los Angeles. As L.A. faces an extreme housing shortage, this Motel Conversion Project will bring new supportive housing into service faster and cheaper than typical new construction projects. The Foundation’s investment not only enables Brilliant Corners to convert a motel into 18 supportive housing units, the L.A. Motel model, but this could also provide proof of concept for a critically needed new pathway with the potential to end homelessness for hundreds of Angelenos.”
The grant to LA Family Housing (LAFH) will support its Shared Family Interim Housing project. Over a two-year period, LAFH will purchase, renovate and convert three houses in the San Fernando Valley into shared interim housing for families experiencing homelessness. In contrast to housing families through motel vouchers, this model will place families in neighborhoods with access to schools, parks, supportive services and a community, in order to overcome their challenged circumstances. The community setting is particularly important to minimize the impact on children during this disruptive time. Over the long term, LAFH aims to develop and scale its new housing model across Los Angeles County.
The grant to The People Concern will support its Scalable Permanent Supportive Housing for Homeless Individuals in Los Angeles project. The project will invest in a partnership between The People Concern and FlyawayHomes to scale the development of supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, using an innovative model that leverages private-investment dollars and manufactured housing construction to reduce the cost and time it takes to develop housing. By using a modular building structure, this partnership can provide housing at one-quarter of the price per bed and in one-quarter of the time of traditional construction methods. The People Concern will create the procedures and staffing structure necessary to manage an additional two facilities within one year, and potentially 10-15 facilities within two years that will house at least 300 individuals experiencing homelessness.
As part of the General Community Grant selection process, The Foundation consulted with leading experts and funders focused on addressing homelessness, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, United Way of Greater Los Angeles Home For Good Funders Collaborative, and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. This collaborative process provided The Foundation with invaluable insight and expertise into this critical issue facing the city.
The Foundation’s General Community Grants provide multiyear awards to support programs focused on high-priority social issues throughout Los Angeles. In recent years, these grants have focused on human trafficking, sexual and domestic violence, and foster youth. This year, The Foundation chose to concentrate and make more significant grants to three organizations that support innovative approaches to housing development.
About The Jewish Community Foundation
Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of more than $1 billion entrusted to it by over 1,300 families and ranks among the 10 largest Los Angeles foundations. It partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of their giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2018, The Foundation and its donors distributed more than $100 million in grants to 2,700 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 15 years, it has distributed more than $1 billion to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum.