From Homeless to Home

Los Angeles County’s public housing program recently leased its first family unit through its initiative for homeless families. Crystal Beacham has been one of Los Angeles County’s 47,000 homeless residents since 2015. A single mother of two young boys, she found herself living at a shelter operated by the Watts Labor Community Action Committee. Due to funding constraints, the shelter closed in September 2016 leaving Beacham with few available housing options for her family. While at the shelter, Beacham learned about the County’s Public Housing Program and its initiative for homeless families.

On September 16, Beacham and her two boys received a referral for permanent housing at the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles’ (HACoLA) South Scattered Sites. Through the collaborative efforts of HACoLA and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), Beacham was leased into a two-bedroom public housing unit on October 24, 2016.

“We need to put homeless families first,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been a leader in the fight against homelessness having helped build over 2,000 affordable housing units in the Second District since 2009.

HACoLA has historically given priority to homeless families, Veterans, and victims of domestic violence seeking placement in public housing. On July 1, 2016, HACoLA’s Public Housing Program implemented a new initiative as an additional means of addressing the area’s homeless crisis. As South Scattered Sites Public Housing units become available, they are now offered to a homeless family first.

“HACoLA prides itself in being forward thinking, and using all available resources to ensure that families, like Beacham’s, have a safe and suitable home,” Sean Rogan, HACoLA Executive Director said.

WLCAC Case Worker Nicole Floyd describes Beacham as a person who does not let hard times put her down. Floyd says Beacham would cheer up other women in the shelter by doing their hair. Floyd will provide two years of continued case management services to Beacham, to ensure she thrives in her new permanent living environment.  Through the Public Housing Program’s homeless initiative, HACoLA continues its mission of “Building Better Lives and Better Neighborhoods.”

“It took a village of resources, to provide a stable living environment to the Beacham family, and HACoLA is proud to have been part of that effort,” says Floyd.

“I plan to cook a Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy it with my kids,” Beacham said.