News flash! Every week, following the Board meeting, Supervisor Kuehl picks five items you might find interesting, important, and/or fun. It’s your way to get a quick rundown of several highlights of the meeting in no more than 5 minutes! Looking for more? Click here to get the entire agenda.
Photo: This week I handed off the gavel to our new Chair of the Board, Supervisor Janice Hahn. I’m looking forward to working with her and all my great colleagues to continue building on the progress we’ve made.
New Earth and Camp Gonzales
On Tuesday, the Board approved a contract with New Earth to provide vocation education services at Camp Gonzales, a former youth detention camp that will be transformed into an innovative, first-of-its-kind Vocational Training Facility!
In May, the Board approved a three-year pilot program at one of our former juvenile camps, Camp Gonzales, that will transform the facility from a detention center into a professional training facility for young people who have come into contact with our foster care or probation systems, or who have experienced homelessness. Through the incredible generosity of Bill Ahmanson and the Ahmanson Foundation, the existing buildings will be replaced by new residential and classroom facilities. The program includes free housing, career technical training in the fields of building and construction trades (pre-apprenticeship program) or food service/culinary arts, wrap-around services, life skills training, and guaranteed job placement.
The vocational and educational aspects of the program will be provided by New Earth, an organization that provides mentor-based arts, educational, and vocational programs to empower juvenile justice and system involved youth. How’s that for beating swords into plowshares!
Woolsey Fire Recovery Efforts
I am very grateful to the Board for passing several motions I authored related to Woolsey Fire recovery efforts.
The first motion acknowledges that public health and safety requires that Los Angeles County Public Works take immediate emergency action to repair roads, bridges, roadway drainage facilities, flood control facilities, and water supply facilities damaged by the Woolsey Fire, and takes several steps to expedite the process related to these infrastructure repairs. A second motion protects public health and safety by preventing the hazards associated with improper removal of fire debris and hazardous materials with the adoption of the emergency Fire Debris Removal Ordinance.
The road to recovery will be long, but the County will continue to work to protect the public, rebuild our communities and help all those affected by the devastating Woolsey Fire every step of the way.
Food Security for Transition Age Youth
This week the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis aimed at increasing access to CALFresh for Transition Age Youth, young adults ages 18-24 who have aged out of the foster care system.
Transition Age Youth, as a result of the typically challenging circumstances in which they grew up, are often faced with housing instability, low educational outcomes, and other conditions that hinder their ability to survive. This adversity is compounded by hunger and insufficient food. According to the County Welfare Directors Association, at age 19, only 33% of current and former foster youth had ever accessed CalFresh, although the vast majority of them would be eligible for it.
There is no reason these young adults should go hungry when they qualify for help with food insecurity. To address this issue and support the long-term success of transition age youth, this motion calls for the County to train staff in The Department of Social Services and the Department of Children and Family Services to make sure that eligible youth are aware of CALFresh and are given an application for the program.
New Freedom: Door-Assistance Transportation Program
In an effort to expand mobility options for seniors and adults with disabilities, the Board granted Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) the authority to execute an agreement with Ambiance Transportation LLC to implement the New Freedom: Door-Assistance Transportation Program.
New Freedom: Door-Assistance Transportation Program is a new, innovative transportation program in the County of Los Angeles that provides countywide escort transportation services to older adults and adults with disabilities to expand their mobility options when public transit is insufficient, inaccessible or unavailable to meet their needs. The new program consists of door-to-door and door-through-door assistance, meaning clients will not just be dropped at their location, but rather someone will make sure they get the personal assistance they need to get where they need to go.
Door-through-door transportation offers a high level of service for travelers who have significant mobility limitations that goes beyond standard community transportation services, enabling the elderly and those living with disabilities to continue living in their own homes and still stay connected to the services and activities that add to their health and happiness.
Expanding Affordable Housing
I am extremely proud that the Board voted this week to approve funding for 3 Affordable Housing Developments!
Based on Census data, more than 800,000 renter households would qualify for affordable housing, were it available. However, fewer than 300,000 units are available across the county. Increasing Los Angeles County’s stock of affordable housing is crucial to close the gap between needed and existing housing. The recently released progress report for Measure H clearly showed the importance of having available, affordable housing. In the past 15 months, 9,635 homeless families and individuals entered permanent housing, and 18,714 found short-term crisis, bridge, and interim housing. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done.
The revenue bonds issued this week will go towards a 42-unit development known as Whittier & Downey NW, a 101-unit development in Palmdale called Juniper Grove, and finally, towards rehab work for the 63-unit Carson Terrace Senior Apartments.