In Los Angeles, New Money for a Multi-Faceted Fight Against Homelessness

Last year, we touched on a few things that the Nonprofit Finance Fund was doing in Los Angeles, including using healthy food programs to create positive change in neighborhoods. To refresh your memory, the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) is a community development financial institution with over $300 million in assets and a whole lot going on lately.

Related: Another Growing Hot Spot for Impact Investing: Healthier Food

Recently, NFF made another big Los Angeles commitment that focuses on the problem of homelessness. This time $8.35 million is going to L.A. Family Housing for the construction of a new campus that offers a range of services to homeless Angelenos.

Los Angeles has often been referred to as the “homeless capital of the United States, with an estimated 50,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles County. But it's also ground zero of innovative efforts to combat homelessness, and we've reported on how the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has been a particularly important player in this regard.

Related: Hilton’s Homelessness Strategy Takes a Turn: What’s Coming Next?

One thing local funders understand is that housing problems are just a start in grappling with homelessness. This challenge is closely entwined with other issues too, including access to employment, quality mental health care, legal services, and transportation.

Which helps explain why NFF is backing an effort that takes a broad approach that aims to meet a number of these needs in one place. As L.A. Family Housing president and CEO Stephanie Klasky-Gamer said in a press release: "Our homeless neighbors are best served when supportive services, health care, and housing are integrated, providing permanent solutions to end homelessness in their lives." That's the vision of the group's campus development, which Klasky-Gamer describes as "a regional hub that will serve thousands." NFF has stepped in with financing at a key critical moment to move the project forward.

Another key aspect of the fight against homelessness in Los Angeles is how it involves nearly every financing tool you can think of, public and private. Government, foundations, and nonprofits are working closely in this area, and business is involved, too. Money for the campus project is from coming public grants, private donations, low-income housing tax credits, and new markets tax credits. Other lenders include Genesis LA and Dignity Health.

The 33-year-old L.A. Family Housing is the largest provider of housing and homeless services in the San Fernando Valley. The nonprofit runs and provides services at three shelters and 19 permanent affordable apartment buildings. The new 80,000-square-foot L.A. Family Housing complex is expected to be complete by late 2017 and serve over 6,000 clients each year.

NFF is based in New York City, but works in a number of cities. NFF’s community development clients are typically affordable housing advocates, social enterprises, urban revitalization organizations, and job training programs.