Autism Research to get $10 Million Grant

Lareka Killebrew, 40, of Glendale knew very little about autism when she gave birth to her son, Justice. But when he stopped talking at the age of 2, she immediately  knew something was wrong. “He wasn’t talking, he was crying, holding his ears, twirling in circles, starring into space, screaming a lot, and would only let me, my mom, husband, and daughter hold him,” she said. “He was a different kid.” It took two years, an occupational, psychologist and speech doctor and two pediatricians to diagnose Justice,  now 7, with spectrum autism, typically characterized by social deficits, communication difficulties, or repetitive behaviors and interests and in some cases, cognitive delays.

Knowing how much work it took to get her son diagnosed,  Killebrew was on hand at a recent event to discuss  the award of  a $10 million-grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a genetics  study of African American children to be conducted  by renowned autism scientist and researcher, Dr. Daniel Geschwind.

The research from Dr. Geshwind’s study at UCLA is intended to help moms like Killebrew  have  their children diagnosed early so that intervention against autism can begin promptly. “I think this grant would have helped my son,” said Killebrew.  “I would have sought intervention immediately.” The event was coordinated by the Special Needs Network, an autism advocacy organization and included Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, Assemblymember Holly Mitchell and the pre-school advocacy group, First 5 Los Angeles.

“Autism is nothing short of an epidemic. We must ask ourselves not just what can be done but what we must do,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “We must focus on early intervention, we must focus on reducing disparity, we must focus on investing, support and doing more and more research.”

 In particular, the grant will allow Dr. Geshwind, to study African American families who have a child diagnosed with autism.  As part of the five year study, children with autism will be observed and their parents will be interviewed about their child’s developmental history.  The Centers for Disease Control  recently reported an increase in the rate of autism  from 1 in 88 to 1 in 50 children— affecting more than one million children across the country.  As a rule,  African-American and Latino children are diagnosed two to four years later than their non-minority peers ,  and often   they have more difficulty accessing  essential diagnostic and intervention services.

“The goal is to recruit 750 families with two parents and a child with autism and find the genes among African Americans that lead to autism,” said Dr. Geshwind.  “The study will be the first to identify the gene of African ancestry that will give will us power to detect a number of genes that increases the risk for autism.”

Dr. Gershwind’s hope is that in five or 10 years, by knowing all the genetics, children can screened early on and identify those that are at high risk and put them into early intervention.

“That would be my dream and goal of what I want to accomplish with this study- to change the trajectory of their life so instead of being destined to have autism we find them at age 3 or 6 months,” he said.

From Foster Care to Advocacy

Grand opening of the CYC Los Angeles office

Tiffany Boyd considers herself one of the lucky ones. When she was a child, her mother had a nervous breakdown and Boyd was sent to live with her grandmother. Her six other siblings, however, were not so fortunate. They ended up in the foster care system in group homes and, she says, have suffered as a result.

Although she also had her share of difficult times, Boyd is now dedicated to helping others in the foster care system. She is one of dozens of young people who help other foster care youth through the California Youth Connection, an advocacy organization.

“I am dedicated to this cause,” said the 25-year-old. “It is great to have an organization that allows me to advocate and take what we learn and bring it back to my peers.”

CYC, which has branches in 32 counties across the state, has been instrumental in supporting key legislation affecting foster youth, including the passage of AB 12, which gives youth the option of staying in care until the age of 21. The organization also has worked on bills that help improved education, permanency planning, group home care and Independent Living Program regulations. Through a motion sponsored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the board approved a five-year agreement between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and CYC that allows the organization to have an office in Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard.

The office opening was also made possible through the generous support of both the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation and Foster Care Counts in partnership with the DCFS Youth Development Services.

“It is critical that these children receive the support they need into young adulthood,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “CYC offers scholarship advice, college guidance and mental health referrals so that these youth can thrive and become the best they can be.” As part of her advocacy work, Boyd was recently chosen to testify before the state legislature on a bill that would allow foster care youngsters evaluate the system before they leave so that necessary changes can be implemented. She spoke for two minutes and spent the rest of the day “shadowing” House Speaker John Perez.

“We value the voice of foster youth and they should have a say in the policy that affects their lives,” said Joseph Tietz, executive director of CYC.

Boyd can also attest to the challenges of living without parental guidance. For most children in the foster care system, moving on to adulthood can be overwhelming.

At CYC, Boyd said she has received the support she needs, including guidance on how to apply for college for her master’s degree. She hopes to attend California State University, Dominguez Hills in the fall and major in public administration and nonprofit development.

But life often throws her little glitches. When she was selected to go on the trip to Sacramento, she realized she didn’t have the right clothing. She could only turn to her mother, who has struggled with mental illness all of her life.

“My mom had to pawn her necklace and then take me to the thrift store so I could buy my clothes,” said Boyd. “It takes a certain level of confidence to ask others that are not family.”

In June, she is planning on visiting Washington DC with CYC.

“I used to be a young lady who was going, ‘why me?’” she said with a smile. “Now I say, ‘why not me?’”

Metta World Peace Talks Mental Health

Metta World Peace has been talking about mental health issues for several years now, speaking from the heart to young people at schools, sharing his personal trials during childhood and discussing the role that counseling has played in his life. Slowly, he says, he is seeing the effects of his openness on the topic. Where once fans mostly approached him to discuss the Lakers, now, almost daily someone will approach him to share how they have been inspired to seek mental health services.

While walking in Westwood, he recently recounted, a man approached and asked to shake his hand. Although this happens every day to the 6’7” forward, the conversation that followed took an unusual turn. Instead of asking for an autograph or photo, the man — a convicted arsonist with severe mental health issues — told Peace he had convinced him to seek counseling.

“He came up to me and said ‘you made it easier for me to get help. Thank you,’” Peace recounted before speaking at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting. “I just wanted to bring awareness to this issue; I didn’t even know that I had the potential to make a difference.”

Mental illness affects one in five people nationwide, and those who suffer from its effects are far more likely to become homeless, incarcerated and hospitalized than the general population. Currently, Peace is leading the Los Angeles County Mental Health Department’s “Talk It Out!” campaign, which runs through the month of May with billboards and posters on MTA shelters, depots, buses and trains in public transit areas around Los Angeles County that urges people to call a 24-hour-hotline if they need help.

The posters feature Peace holding a basketball and encouraging people to talk about their issues, and have a bright, lime-green-colored background for a purpose, said Marvin Southard, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

“We want to spread the message and put it in the limelight,” said Southard. “People with mental health issues have a sense that they are looked down upon. We know if we exclude them, we harm them.”

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who commended Peace as well as longtime mental health advocate Stella March for their activism on Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting, said there is no shame in dealing with mental illness.

“The lack of awareness and the stigma pose barriers to effective treatment,” he said. “We need to make sure that the people who need help, get help.”

Peace has had his own very public issues with anger management and depression. It has been a tough experience going through his challenges in front of the television cameras, but his fame has also helped him.

“People get to know you. They have seen me through bad times and good times and seen me grow as a person,” he said. “This is a lifetime of work.”

He has also seen his siblings and other relatives suffer from mental illness, and Peace says that although he is vigilant about watching his four children for signs of emotional stress, mainly he is focused on letting his kids “just be kids.”

Nonetheless, even though Peace has seen some positive effects of his public campaign, he still believes many people don’ t realize they have issue s that could be resolved with counseling and treatment.

“I got through it with help and support,” he said. “Everything in life is not perfect. You just never know if something can tick you off. You don’t realize that these things can scar you. Once you understand that about yourself, you can address those issues.”

The county has also created a 24/7 hotline in English and Spanish, that encourages young adults to seek help if they need it (1-800-854-7771).

For more information visit:

Raising Awareness for Food Assistance

Hundreds of low-income families in Los Angeles County are eligible for food assistance, and many don’t even know it. To let more people know about the availability of monthly food stipends, county, state and federal agencies have teamed up with local grocers, farmers’ markets, food banks and school districts for a campaign to spread the word about the CalFresh program. CalFresh provides a maximum monthly allowance of $176 to low-income individuals to buy food at various markets and stores throughout the county.

According to the Department of Public Social Services, as of March, 1.1 million Los Angeles County residents receive CalFresh benefits. An estimated 1.1 million additional individuals, however, are potentially eligible to receive assistance. The mission of the campaign is to increase the number of participants in the program, reduce hunger, promote good nutrition and remind the public that assistance for food is available. To jump start the campaign, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas made a presentation before the board to support the effort.

“One of the highest priorities of the Department of Public Social Services is to reduce food insecurity in Los Angeles County,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “This year’s campaign will place a heavy focus on the nutritional benefits of CalFresh.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of nationwide homes lacking adequate food more than tripled in the last four years. Studies suggest that household hunger negatively impacts the intellectual, physical and emotional development of children. In addition, poor eating habits increase the risks for obesity, diabetes and other diseases.

“While the local economy continues to improve we know there are many residents that are in need of food assistance,” said Los Angeles County Director of Pubic Social Services Sheryl Spiller. “Hunger is an issue that affects us all. We want to make sure that no child goes to bed hungry.”

Hoping to ease fears among hopeful recipients of the CalFresh program, officials confirm that receiving food assistance does not affect a person’s immigration status nor will any recipients be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

To learn more about the CalFresh program and to view the CalFresh community events calendar, please visit:

Helping Victims of Human Trafficking

When Michelle Guymon first heard the term “sex trafficking,” she figured it was not her problem. After all, as a probation officer in Los Angeles County, she had no control over what happened in faraway places like Thailand or Belarus.

“The only thing I knew about trafficking was that it was a bad thing happening to kids in other countries,” she said. “I had heard about them on TV.”

But to her dismay, she quickly learned that these girls were here in Los Angeles. Even worse, she had been dealing with them for years as a probation officer and therapist helping kids through childhood traumas and their arrests as prostitutes. Like many in law enforcement, she just didn’t comprehend it.

“I realized that these were the girls that I had always worked with. They were being exploited sexually rather than being a teenage prostitute,” she said. “I think looking back on it, that realization was a hard moment. There were things I could have done better to move them forward and help them along that path, if I had known better. Now that I know better, we have to do better.”

And do better, she has. As the head of the Probation Department’s Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Project, Guymon is one of the key players in getting better services to the young victims as they enter the probation system. She was instrumental in applying for a state grant that allowed the county to begin a separate court program that diverts young girls away from incarceration and into programs and therapy that might help them get out of the life of commercial sexual exploitation. She has also established a pilot program in South Los Angeles—the epicenter of the sex trafficking problem—to create a safety net with a protocol for these girls.

Addressing the issue of human trafficking is a priority for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“I intend to do everything in my power to address this problem and help these young people leave conditions that absolutely no one should endure,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas.

There is much, however, that can be done. Through her work Guymon came to realize that before girls are trafficked they come into contact an average of 33 times with local authorities — whether it is through law enforcement agencies,  social workers  or health care workers. Both the officials coming into contact with the girls and the community at large need more education in order to help them. Most importantly, these girls must be seen as victims—not as criminals. The average age of girls coerced or forced into sex work is 12, and for many, the consequences are tragic. In just the last two months, one victim of sex trafficking was found dead in the sands of Newport Beach and another burned to death in South LA.

“Young girls go to the emergency room and to public health clinics—that is a huge point of contact,” she said. “If nurses and health practitioners knew and they asked, ‘wait a minute, why is this girl at 15 here by herself, why is she beat up?’ Then when she comes in contact with people, different questions will be asked.”

Ideally, Guymon would like the county to launch similar public awareness campaigns on sex trafficking as the domestic abuse and the Safe Surrender Don’t Abandon Your Baby campaigns. Also, the laws have to change. Some progress has been made with the passage of Proposition 35 ordering tougher sentencing laws against traffickers. However, girls are still treated like criminals, arrested for prostitution, sent through the criminal justice system and are punished more severely than the clients paying to have sex with them.

“These kids run a lot. So the more people are aware, the more we can make services available sooner,” she said. “Right now there is no countywide educational outreach.”

Growing up in Utah, she realized how sheltered her life had been when she moved to Los Angeles to work in a group home as the recreational director. Although she originally wanted to be a women’s college basketball coach, she found her true calling was working with at-risk kids. In 1989, she joined the probation department and has not looked back since.

As a ball player at the University of Utah, her father always told her she was better on offense than defense. Although she no longer plays basketball, she is still better at offense—especially when it comes to helping out these young girls. She has learned from her mistakes. She no longer asks them too many questions about their traumas; too many of the kids she saw began unraveling when she delved too deeply into their pain. She no longer believes these kids should be locked up to be protected. Instead, she could be seen as a lighthouse, where kids can seek her out when they are ready to find their way.

“You have to get to a place where you believe in their resilience and make a strong connection with these kids and love them through it,” she said. “No matter how many times they run, they can always reach back and we will always be there to support them. That is the best thing we can do.”

A Head Start for Foster Youth in the Arts

Whether it’s working as an intern at the American Youth Symphony, helping abused children express their emotions through art or working at the avant-garde Rogue Machine Theatre Company in Arlington Heights, foster youth had a head start this year in applying for a summer job at dozens of arts organizations throughout the county.

“There was interest from the Board of Supervisors to give emancipated youth access to the program. But organizations were getting tons of resumes in years past. So we thought, why not open it up a couple weeks early,” said Angela Gaspar-Milanovic, professional development programs manager for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Three years ago, the Board of Supervisors instructed the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to give foster and emancipated youth preference in the arts internship program. While the Arts Commission cannot hold these positions, in subsequent years, they developed a plan to give a head start to foster youth in the application process by working with the Department of Children and Family Services. This year, DCFS reached out to foster youth to encourage all eligible interested college students to apply two weeks ahead of the general public to all 74 available paid summer internships. Graduating seniors who complete their undergraduate degrees between May 1 – September 1, 2013 are eligible, as well as current undergraduates. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of college by June 2013 and be currently enrolled in a community college or a four-year university. Applicants must either be a Los Angeles County resident or attend school in the county. Students who have previously participated in the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program are not eligible to participate a second time.

The positions are for 10 weeks and pay $350 per week. Interns also take part in educational and arts networking activities. Through the program, interns gain real work experience to strengthen their resumes and develop business skills that can be put to use in their future careers.

“With the summer arts internship program, it gives students transferable skills,” said Gaspar-Milanovic. “Whether they’re going to work professionally in the arts or not. Whether they become ticket buyers, whether they go to arts events, this is giving them really solid skills that they can use down the line such as marketing, social media and administration. These skills are completely transferable.”

The other Second District organizations include Ebony Repertory Theatre, the non-profit LA Commons, the writers collective Les Figues Press, the Crenshaw based dance studio Lula Washington Dance Theatre, theater company focused on new collaborative theater Odyssey Theatre Foundation, the LGBT focused film festival Outfest, and the non-profit theatre company Son of Semele Ensemble.

Internship positions close as soon as they are filled during the April 3 to May 17 application period. Go to, click on “Internships,” then “Opportunities for Students.” Interested students should act as soon as positions are posted as there is stiff competition for a limited number of internships.

While many jobs in the public and private sectors continue to diminish, fresh jobs aimed at careers in the arts are inspiring for many Los Angeles County college students.

“Arts are important,” said Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “An early chance at a career in the arts can combat the pipeline to prison for young foster youth. Instead of teaching our kids how to become criminals, this program is critical in showing our children a path to become contributing creative members of our communities.”

To support the internships, Los Angeles County, through its Arts Commission, has given grants totaling $250,000 to 74 arts organizations throughout the County.

“We know that the arts play an integral part in the Los Angeles community, and are honored to give our former foster youth a chance to learn valuable and meaningful life skills through this internship program,” said Shauna McClure, the executive director of Free Arts for Abused Children whose motto is “Arts Heal!”

Giving Foster Youth a Chance

For far too long, young people in the county foster care system who suffer from substance abuse or mental health issues and who teetered on the edge of falling in trouble with the law, have had few resources to help them stay on the right side. For some, this dearth of assistance has had severe consequences as they age out of the foster system and in short order, wind up as wards of the County Probation Department. But now, the Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health and the Probation Department will be expected to coordinate with each other and follow up with the kids who need more guidance and help.

Led by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the board has asked for a substantive plan to coordinate services between the departments in order to improve treatment and tracking of youth in the foster care system and in the custody of probation. Within two months, there will be a written plan to implement a prevention pilot program that will allocate significant funding to help provide substance abuse treatment services and instruct psychiatric social workers to provide specific recommendations on the type of mental health services a youth needs and which agencies in the youth’s service area could provide such services.

In addition, the county is now working on suggested revisions to a state legislative bill that would prohibit the use of incriminating information obtained during a clinical review against a youth in any court proceeding.

This pilot program works in conjunction with an innovative program for Los Angeles County funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation which seeks to help foster youth transitioning to independence find the tools to finish school, get a job and work well with others.

According to a comprehensive study funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation transition-age foster youth confront a myriad of challenges in education, employment, health, mental health and earnings potential. The study found that 25 percent of foster youth are incarcerated by age 20; 65 percent leave foster care without a place to live and 27 percent of the homeless population spent time in foster care.

Less than one in ten former foster youth obtain a degree and within the four years after leaving foster care, more than half of youth have no earnings, and those who do average an income of only $7,500 per year.

“We need to help our most vulnerable youth reach their maximum potential,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “This segment of our population cannot be ignored. They need help becoming independent adults and this effort by Los Angeles County moves us one step closer to doing that.”



A Modern Day Village in the Heart of Koreatown

Menlo Family Apartments

The Menlo Family Apartments’ breezy courtyard garden brimming with spiky succulents, its brightly painted hallways in hues of blue, yellow, orange and green and even the sparkling new bathrooms are a far cry from the blighted site that once made this corner of Koreatown notorious as a stop for prostitution and gang activity.

The apartments, on Menlo near Vermont Avenue and Pico Boulevard, are a veritable, modern-day village. Here young adults, children, middle-aged adults and grandparents will mingle in one location, but it is also a place that caters to society’s most vulnerable people : low-income families, families struggling with mental illness, kids graduating from the foster care system and formerly homeless families.

Newly opened and run by the Koreatown Youth & Community Center, the Menlo Family Apartments received 3,500 applications for only 60 apartments, speaking to the dire need for affordable housing in one of the country’s most expensive areas—Los Angeles.

“We are bringing together three very distinct populations that have never lived together and trying to instill a sense of family in the building,” said Christine Najung Lee, youth services manager KYCC. “It is hard enough for one or two parents to raise a family on their own. We are going to have regular tenant meetings and we are hoping they can look out for one another. This is a neighborhood within a building.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas at the Grand Opening of Menlo Family Apartments

Los Angeles County, along with City of Los Angeles and Union Bank, funded the project, which was built by the Little Tokyo Service Center. Mental health counseling, job training, financial literacy classes and possibly a daycare center will be available to tenants within the building.

“Despite the prosperity that is coming to Wilshire Boulevard and many other parts of Los Angeles, it is increasingly important that we address issues of mental illness, homelessness, and youth in transition to spread the benefits of the economic recovery to all of our constituents and neighbors,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, a strong backer of the project. “This type of permanent housing, with supportive services, is a successful model for combating homelessness, keeping families together and enabling opportunities for our youth.”

Considering the loss of the state’s redevelopment dollars, the housing project is also an example of the need for local governments to continue funding and building affordable housing. Chairman Ridley-Thomas pointed to three recent projects totaling more than $44 million to develop affordable housing in the Second District.

“We will keep the affordable housing pipeline full,” he said. “And we will continue to support organizations like the Little Tokyo Service Center and the Koreatown Youth & Community Center in doing this significant work.”

Homeless Advocate Named Woman of the Year


[raw]A hearty congratulations to Marsha Temple, executive director of the homeless advocacy agency, Integrated Recovery Network, who has been selected as the Second Supervisorial District’s Woman of the Year.

Temple was chosen by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas for her outstanding work helping homeless people reclaim their lives by finding housing, health care and jobs.

Temple, who is an attorney, has been an advocate for the homeless and homeless issues for years. In her work at the Integrated Recovery Network, she has championed the need to help mentally ill people released from the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, finding them housing, mental health services and addiction management so that with counseling, they can address the substance abuse and other issues and that threaten their stability and risk a return to jail.


She will join seven other women, selected by other members of the board of supervisors, who will be honored for their work bringing about social and economic change at a luncheon sponsored by the Los Angeles County Commission for Women on March 11.

“It is a huge honor to be chosen to represent the Second Supervisorial District as Woman of the Year for my work with the Integrated Recovery Network. So many people are working to find housing for people who are homeless, to provide access to medical and psychiatric care, to reduce recidivism rates, to help people who have been homeless find jobs,” said Temple.

“I dedicate this award to the staff of the Integrated Recovery Network. My colleagues work alongside me every day, creating opportunities for life-altering transformations of people who might not otherwise have the chance to lead dignified and productive lives.”  Temple has also served as past president of the Board of Directors of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, the Board of Governors of Marina del Rey Hospital, as chair of the Board of Directors of the Venice Family Clinic and she is currently on the Board of Governors of Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital.

As an attorney for 20 years, Temple represented hospital clients in a variety of liability actions including medical and psychiatric malpractice, breach of contract and defended allegations of elder abuse.

The LA County Commission for Women champions many causes including employment, gender equity, promoting access to health care for women of all ages, ending violence against women and supporting legislation that positively impacts the lives of women.

“Marsha Temple exemplifies the selfless and tireless work that it takes to help the most challenged people in our society get back on their feet,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “She and her staff understand the importance of giving all human beings a chance to live a decent life and she richly deserves this honor .”

Supervisors Approve $15 Million More for Affordable Housing

Epworth Apartments on Normandie Avenue.  Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County.

Epworth Apartments on Normandie Avenue. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County.

The preservation and creation of affordable housing has been a longstanding goal of the county and its 88 cities, but the demise of redevelopment agencies delivered a blow to low-income residents struggling in one of the nation’s most difficult housing markets; the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is $1,447 — far more than one-third of take-home pay for 40 percent of Angelenos.

Acting on a joint motion by Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas and Supervisor Gloria Molina, the Board of Supervisors unanimously reaffirmed the county’s commitment to providing permanent housing for low-income residents, recently approving a motion to transfer $15 million to the Community Development Corporation for affordable housing in Los Angeles County.

Supervisors Molina and Ridley-Thomas had urged the board to set aside $75 million for five years, $15 million of which would be allocated this year, but voted to postpone allocating the remaining $60 million until the annual budget process begins — just a few weeks.

Both Supervisors Molina and Ridley-Thomas urged the balance of the board to dedicate the total amount available to affordable housing.

“I am advocating for and committed to affordable housing having top priority consideration for the use of these resources,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “On any given night in Los Angeles County, over 50,000 homeless individuals live on the streets. The majority have untreated illnesses or disabilities, so affordable housing can and must be the priority. It has implications for our communities and workforce dynamics.”

“I think what’s important is that this is not money that should be allocated in a different direction…I’m hoping we’re not going to layer this with all kind of other competing interests,” said Supervisor Molina.


Hope Street Family Center courtesy of Abode Communities.

Affordable housing advocates cheered passage of the motion, noting the significant challenges they face since the dissolution of redevelopment agencies.

“The loss of redevelopment housing funds has had a significant impact on the production and preservation of affordable housing,” said affordable housing developer Robin Hughes, the president of Abode Communities committed to affordable housing communities in Los Angeles.


In October of last year, acting on a joint motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $11 million in funding for affordable housing projects that is expected to result in approximately 176 new units. Through the Community Development Commission’s work, the county has created over 10,000 affordable units.

“This funding is critically important to low income communities and people with special needs,” said Dora Gallo, chief executive of A Community of Friends, a nonprofit agency that develops affordable housing. “While other cities and counties are still trying to figure out what to do with the loss of redevelopment funds, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and Supervisor Molina have taken action.”