The Los Angeles City Council clears the way for pilot program to provide housing for shelter of human trafficking victims.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2018
Communications Director, Office of Councilwoman Nury Martinez
213.473.7006 – office
818-858-4025 – cell
ABIGAIL R. MARQUEZ
Los Angeles Housing + Community Development Department
213.808.8462 - office
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST LA)
323.559.3675 - office
Los Angeles – During the Spring 2017 budget discussion, Councilwoman Nury Martinez instructed the City’s Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department to develop a housing program for human trafficking survivors. On June 22, 2018, the Los Angeles City Council approved the proposal championed by Councilwoman Martinez and spearheaded by the LA Housing + Community Investment (HCIDLA) to provide dedicated housing and services to human trafficking survivors. As law enforcement agencies continue to dismantle the infrastructure of human trafficking, a key piece that continues to come up missing is dedicated housing and services for survivors.
“Providing emergency shelter and/or transitional housing beds and services is crucial for victims of domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking” said Councilwoman Martinez. “Otherwise, how do we expect to break this vicious cycle if we simply send human trafficking survivors back to the very lodgings and housing where many of these survivors were trafficked from in the first place? It doesn’t make sense, it never made sense, and we need to fix it.”
It was this concern that led Councilwoman Martinez to ask HCIDLA to develop a specific shelter proposal for victims of human trafficking.
“This innovative and bold housing program is a true expression of the City’s solidarity to fight against domestic violence and human trafficking, and help the victims and survivors with the healing and recovery process,” said Rushmore Cervantes, General Manager of HCIDLA.
Following months of careful deliberation and study, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) has been selected to receive $800,000 from the City to create a first-of-its-kind pilot program to provide housing and wraparound services to human trafficking victims and their children. $438,000 will be directed to provide transitional housing and services and $362,000 will go towards emergency shelter.
This includes, but is not limited to, safe, confidential housing through two 24-hour shelters (one emergency shelter and one transitional shelter with a total of 25 beds) as well as employment of a housing specialist that will assist clients in identifying and securing safe, affordable permanent housing when they exit the program.
"Los Angeles Councilwoman Nury Martinez is a true champion for survivors of human trafficking," said Kay Buck, CEO of CAST, a Los Angeles community-based organization providing services to survivors of human trafficking for 20 years." These housing grants will directly impact the safety and rights of survivors who are escaping traffickers, and provide a needed refuge with trauma-informed programs. It is through partnerships like this with the City of Los Angeles that we are addressing homelessness among some of our most vulnerable community members, and creating a safe and healing space for survivors of human trafficking to start rebuilding their lives."
Councilwoman Nury Martinez is the Assistant President Pro-Tem of the Los Angeles City Council. She represents the 6th Council District, which includes all or parts of the neighborhoods of Van Nuys, Lake Balboa, Sun Valley, Panorama City, Arleta, North Hollywood, and North Hills East.