HomeCity NewsHome Again L.A. Gets Room to Grow

Home Again L.A. Gets Room to Grow

First published in the Jan. 7 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Home Again L.A., one of Burbank’s leading partners in homelessness and housing services, is getting a major upgrade.
The service provider — which has helped more than 600 homeless families back into permanent housing since 2010 — is currently operating out of a two-bedroom apartment, but with demand for their services skyrocketing, the organization will be expanding into a 20,000 square foot parcel owned by the city.
“We’re sort of bursting from the seams,” said Carrie Prado, a veteran case manager at HALA. “There are so many more resources we’d like to give out to people, and since the pandemic, we’ve added a lot of services, but we are running out of space to accommodate people.”
The new headquarters of HALA was formerly the site of the Boys & Girls Club from 1994 through 2021. By May 2021, the space was in a state of disrepair. The Boys & Girls Club vacated the property and moved to a new facility. The property currently remains vacant while the city renovates the building.
On the evening of Nov. 1, the Burbank City Council unanimously voted 5-0 to award and negotiate a lease for the property, located on 2244 N. Buena Vista St., with HALA
“This new space will allow us to serve more people and do it in a way where people can have individual case management, financial literacy workshops, and other services happening concurrently. We’ll be able to administer all of our services to more people, more efficiently and quickly,” Prado said.

Home Again L.A., one of Burbank’s homelessness services partners, offers rapid rehousing, transitional housing, homeless prevention and more.

City staff reports that the number one concern shown in a recent 2022 Burbank Community Survey is homelessness and housing. One of the City Council’s goals is addressing the community’s concerns about homelessness. Councilmembers cited this when selecting HALA for the lease.
“If it wasn’t for HALA, I don’t know where my kids and I would be right now. They helped us in a way that I didn’t think they could,” said Raquel Meza, a former HALA client from North Hollywood.
When Meza found HALA, she and her children were fleeing domestic violence and were days away from being on the street. Meza could no longer afford a motel room and was scared that she could lose her children to child protective services because of her living situation.
“HALA showed me that that wouldn’t be the case. They helped us with all types for resources from where to sleep at night to diapers, showers, hot meals. … They made us feel like we were on our way to finding happiness. They helped me save money, find a job, provided transportation and then helped me look for a new home in a place where I would be able to afford it on my own,” Meza said.
Meza told the Leader that HALA staff went the distance in making sure she wasn’t being taken advantage of by landlords, and when she finally found a home, HALA staff helped them move in.
“The staff was amazing. All of the people working and all the amazing people donating time at the resource center … they treated us like friends. No, I’m lying. They treated us like family. They cared. [They] helped in any way they could.”
In addition to the extra space, HALA proposed adding four manufactured dwelling units, or tiny homes, to the site to be used for temporary housing.
“It’s probably a little bit more down the line, but we are super excited about it. It’s really innovative. The tiny homes will serve as a transitional housing setup, getting people warm, getting them into housing as fast as possible,” Prado said.
The tiny homes would be operated in the same fashion that HALA’s shelter program works with local church congregations. Families will be permitted to live in the tiny homes for no more than 90 days. During those 90 days, families are expected to work toward securing work, saving income and making certain children attend school regularly.
Home Again L.A. has been operating a similar model since 2010 and boasts a 64-day average transition time from intake into permanent housing. CEO Albert Hernandez said that this program model is so successful because the program is like a boot camp.
“The families have goals they need to achieve by the end of the 90 days, and our trained and compassionate case managers advocate and provide clear direction and support,” he said.
Home Again L.A. is currently working with the city on the development of a lease agreement and an estimate of costs to bring the facility to building and safety code compliance.

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