Los Angeles County leaders have approved a plan to expand housing options for young adults who’ve left the foster care system.
The motion, approved at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, taps into a new state funding stream. It allows the Department of Children and Family Services to increase monthly housing voucher rates for the Transitional Housing Program-Plus, which serves youth ages 18 through 24 who are not enrolled in extended foster care.
Supervisor Hilda Solis, who authored the motion, noted in a press statement how challenging it can be after leaving the foster care system to obtain stable housing. She described the transition as “one of the greatest feeders of homelessness.”
In 2020, the most recent year that youth experiencing homeless were officially tallied in the county, the number had spiked by 19% since 2019, and even that surge is widely considered an undercount.
Research shows that California youth with foster care fall into homelessness at a much higher rate than their peers.
“Youth homelessness does not get the attention it deserves,” Solis stated. “The responsibility to care for our children and youth in foster care is ours.”
The supervisors’ action will improve housing providers’ ability to offer rental units to former foster youth, which has historically proven challenging in a region with some of the country’s highest housing costs. Rates paid to providers who house youth through the program will rise from $2,200 per month to at least $2,882. The county will offer landlords a higher rate for youth who are pregnant or raising children.
The funding is expected to increase the number of units available through the transitional housing program to 177 — a nearly 116% increase over 2018 numbers, Solis said.
In recent years, California officials have worked to stem the foster-care-to-homelessness pipeline, earmarking millions of dollars to create new housing options. The state dollars being put to use in L.A. come from a $9 million pot in the 2021 budget to expand the program known as THP-Plus in 11 counties with the highest housing costs.