Volunteers of America programs in Los Angeles.

A number of programs are available from Volunteers of America in the Greater Los Angeles region, however the focus is on housing low income families, the homeless, and eviction prevention services. While those resources are offered, even more important is the individual participating in Family Services or case management type programs. After all, having a safe and affordable home to live in is very beneficial, but the Family Services will ensure the family is able to stay housed.

Some of the main programs administered by VOALA are below. Note the demand for help, as well as affordable housing, is always very high, so resources are limited. Typically only a small number of requests can be fulfilled by Volunteers of America, however the non-profit charity will do its best.

Self-sufficiency and housing stability resources

Family Services will work to help clients gain self-sufficiency and address the root cause of their hardship. So there are several parts to this and various components of it. Case managers offer resources such as employment referrals, affordable childcare, housing, job training, ESL classes, government benefits advocacy, medical referrals, and respite care for seniors or the disabled.

Many of these Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles programs are for single parents or otherwise low-income families. They are available at locations such as the Maud Booth Family Center and other sites.

As noted, offering affordable housing is always a focus. The homes and apartments are focused on the needs of the working poor, single moms, and those working towards self-sufficiency. Services offered at the housing sites include transportation to medical appointments, after school programs for children, and job training and placement for parents.

Get help in applying for Social Security disability benefits as part of B.E.S.T.  The VOALA Benefits Entitlement Services Team provides guidance and assistance to disabled homeless persons. They can get help in applying for federal disability benefits as well as access to coordinated health, comprehensive case management and mental health services. All federal and social security disability requirements are followed by Greater Los Angeles VOA.




The disabled and their caretakers can benefit from in-home Caregiver Respite Services. Among other things, this will allow primary caregivers to have the time to take care of other needs of the elderly or disabled member of their households.

More general Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing services may be offered from Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles, depending on government funding levels. It operates as a very short term financial assistance program that assists families or individuals who are homeless or at risk of eviction.

Priority for any funds or case management is given to those who are most likely to achieve stable housing and that are also most in need of temporary assistance. When this operates, the applicant must be currently homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. It is a last resort, so applicants also can't have any alternative housing options, support networks, or other financial resources to rely on.

Ex-offenders can benefit from the Gen3 Jobs Program. This non-residential program offers them an intensive skills-based assessment that allows the clients to identify their current barriers, strengths, weaknesses, and potential risk factors.

Based on the results of that intake session, employment specialists will be assigned to work with ex-offenders in developing a comprehensive self-sufficiency as well as a plan that will lead the participant to meaningful employment in southern California. This is for residents of Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, as well as East Los Angeles.

Housing in Los Angeles from VOALA

Offering low income housing is a major goal of VOALA both in Los Angeles and really nationwide. This is a key service of their continuum of care. If their apartments and homes that are leased out, rents are intentionally kept low so families can save money for other expenses, or towards buying a home.

There are hundreds of affordable housing units and apartments available, with a focus on senior citizens and the working poor in Los Angeles, including single parents. Housing complexes are located throughout Greater Los Angeles County in towns such as Sunland, Long Beach, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Silverlake. Other services are available for tenants as well, such as after school programs, training for those with developmental disabilities, and low cost transportation to medical appointments.





Ballington Plaza is in the so called Skid Row region. The housing is for people with disabilities, veterans, graduates of substance abuse programs, and the working poor.

Pathways to Home will help clients find affordable, safe, and low income permanent, sustainable housing. Each resident who works with staff from Volunteers of America on PATH will have an action plan created. They will access the support services they need to find work, get information on free or low cost healthcare, access benefits they may be eligible for and ideally be placed into long term housing or an apartment.

S.H.A.W.L. - Support for Harbor Area Women's Lives is for women that are victims of domestic violence, substance abuse, some disability and/or mental illness. The program provides females with assistance such as transitional housing, domestic violence education, counseling, and other services to help them move towards independence and stability.

Programs for veterans from Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles

Veterans can receive housing, and in fact they are often a priority. The non-profit will help those facing eviction, battling homelessness, mental illness, or substance abuse. Volunteers of America offers them assistance including life skills classes, substance abuse treatment, transitional and permanent housing referrals, job development and placement, physical and mental health referrals, transportation, access to government benefits and free legal advocacy, among other resources.

The Veterans Service Center from VOALA is the first point of contact for homeless veterans and their families. Case managers assess their challenge, advocate on their behalf, and also make referrals to the VA, VOALA programs, or other non-profit or government organizations.

As far as the housing units go in Los Angeles that may be available for veterans, they include El Monte Outreach/Access Center, Safe Haven at the Barracks, Navy Village, VOALA Rotary House, North Hollywood Apartments, Skid Row Service Center, VS-65, HVRP, West Covina Outreach/Access Center, VS-90, Central City Recovery, and Ballington Plaza.

Eviction prevention and rehousing for veterans is part of S.S.V.F., or Supportive Services for Veteran Families. Clients can get access to comprehensive supportive services and other financial aid. This is offered for very low-income veterans and their families that are now homeless or facing eviction.

The range of services from this federal government funded program will improve housing stability and includes case management, outreach, assistance with obtaining federal government benefits, health care, temporary financial assistance, financial planning, and more. There may be funds to pay rent to prevent the eviction, or government grants for a security deposit on a new low income home or apartment.

A program known as Helping Veterans Receive Paychecks (H.V.R.P.) offer clients housing and other support services. Get assistance with job placement and training, vocational training contacts, resume preparation advice, referrals to employers, and job search services. Additionally, H.V.R.P. provides permanent and transitional housing referrals, free healthcare, and other supportive services. It operates in the county including Locations in Downtown LA, the San Gabriel Valley, and South Los Angeles.




Resources for the currently homeless

Homeless assistance programs are wide ranging. The Greater Los Angeles Volunteers of America offers qualified individuals with social services and assistance. What may be provided includes emergency shelter, basic needs such as clothing, employment-centered programs, transitional housing, weekly stipend, specialized job training, basic computer skills, transportation services to an interview, as well as permanent housing placement.

There are hundreds of people that can use their shelters or VOALA transitional housing sites. Many of them are emergency centers as well, and individuals can often get free meals, clothing, and other basic needs met as well.

Clients above can also look into resources such as the West Covina Outreach and Access Center. This offers referrals and assistance to homeless families and individuals, including clothing distribution, case management, access to a computer center, and a wide variety of other life skills classes. Another very similar center is El Monte Outreach and Access Center. Many of the same services are offered by Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles to the homeless from that location.

The main Los Angeles County office of VOA is at 3600 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California. Call 213-389-1500.


By Jon McNamara

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