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.
Fighting Family Separation
This week the Board continued our support for the #familiesbelongtogether movement by voting to expand our agreement with the LA Justice Fund to include legal representation for children who have been separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The County, together with the City of LA and philanthropic partners, established the Los Angeles Justice Fund to provide free legal representation to eligible immigrants facing deportation. The motion approved this week by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn expands the mission of the LA Justice Fund to include legal representation for children and families who are victims of the Trump Administration’s inhumane family separation policy. Children and families who would qualify for this legal aid must have strong ties to the County of Los Angeles but do not necessarily need to reside in the County.
Children as young as three have been served notices to appear in immigration court for their own deportation proceedings, after enduring the horrific trauma of being separated from their parents. So far, the LA Justice Fund has helped 78 people, half of whom are minors. It is imperative that these children and families have representation to help them navigate the complicated immigration legal system.
The unprecedented immorality of the family separation policy and the apparent lack of a plan for reunification of these families necessitates a swift and solid legal response. I commend Supervisors Solis and Hahn for introducing this critical motion to facilitate that response.
Read: Los Angeles approves $10M to help separated children
Cultural Services for County Residents
I’m pleased to report that this year, 216 very special nonprofit arts organizations will receive just over $4.5 million in grant funding, re-affirming the Board’s commitment to supporting the arts in our communities.
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding, and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County. One of the ways the Commission does this is by helping nonprofit organizations make their communities a better and more livable place through the arts.
Several of this year’s grant recipients focus on increasing exposure to the arts for students in underserved areas, including the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, Free Arts for Abused Children, Street Poets Inc., and Classic and Contemporary American Plays.
Art enriches our society, empowers our communities, and helps give a voice to the voiceless. I am proud that the County of Los Angeles recognizes and supports the transformative power of art!
In Los Angeles County, we want the best minds working on the biggest challenges. That is why I am excited that the Board amended our contract with the nonprofit Fuse Corps to allow more County Departments to work with the brilliant members of their Fellowship program.
Fuse Corps is a national nonprofit that partners with local government to work with various urban areas on a range of issues, including economic and workforce development, healthcare, public safety, climate change, and education. Fuse Corps’ approach centers around an executive fellowship program, engaging fellows who are experienced professionals and passionate change-makers and who want to make a difference in the lives of millions of people by leveraging their expertise for the good of the communities they serve.
Our three Health Agency departments have been working alongside Fuse Fellows since 2016 and the results have been so spectacular that several other County Departments expressed interest in participating in the program. I am very happy the County is taking advantage of this important resource.
Park to Playa Trail Project
In keeping with the County’s goal to provide the residents and visitors of Los Angeles County with quality recreational opportunities, this week the Board approved plans for the Park to Playa Trail Project in the 4th district.
The Park to Playa Trail is a planned 13-mile regional trail that will connect a network of trails, parks and open spaces from the Baldwin Hills Parklands to the Pacific Ocean. The existing segments of the Park to Playa Trail include Stocker Corridor, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Culver City Park, and Ballona Creek Bike Path.
I have fond memories of exploring these open spaces with my dad when I lived in Baldwin Hills as a child. I am grateful that the County is moving forward in completing an uninterrupted trail system that will help residents and visitors enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors!
Funding for Affordable Housing
This week the Board committed another round of funding for affordable housing, this one for a development in the unincorporated community of Florence-Firestone, which will add 44 supportive housing units to the 2nd District.
The multifamily rental housing development, known as Miramonte Apartments, was selected through the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Affordable Multifamily Rental Housing, with funding issued by the Community Development Commission. Miramonte Apartments will be developed by the charitable organization A Community of Friends, which provides permanent affordable housing with onsite supportive services to help tenants remain stably housed.
Experts in housing and homelessness agree that increasing the stock of affordable housing is crucial to fighting the housing crisis. This year, the Board has committed to funding approximately 20 affordable multi-unit housing developments in locations across Los Angeles County. In the last five years, 3,362 affordable apartments have been constructed, two-thirds of which were reserved for people struggling with homelessness, mental illness and physical disabilities.
Fortunately, the County is not in this alone. According to a report released by the Chief Executive Office and the Community Development Commission, every dollar put in by the County over the last five years has been matched sixfold by public and private funders. Together, we can truly make an impact in housing our homeless neighbors.