Echo Park - A non-profit that has been helping some of the county’s most vulnerable residents has opened a facility for homeless families on the grounds of Gateways Hospital.

The Whole Child’s Safe Families Interim Housing Program has opened 44 housing units, with a total of 102 beds. The project is based around 14 cottages that are being leased from The Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center. The first families moved in at the beginning of September.

The new housing program began a few months after a 72-bed program for homeless veterans at Gateways closed earlier this year, reported the LA Times.  

The facility is intended for homeless families with children - including families escaping domestic abuse. The first families already moved into the new facility on September 3, and the grand opening was held on September 21.

"It is our priority to make sure that children are kept safe from the harshness of sleeping in cars and motels," Supervisor Hilda Solis said at the grand opening.

The project was funded by $1.4 million from the Los Angeles Housing Services Authority, with a shortfall of around $500,000 being covered by Supervisor Solis’ discretionary Homeless Preventative Initiative funds.

As families are placed in permanent housing, new homeless families will move into the Gateway property.

Along with housing, Whole Child will be providing its other services to the residents, including mental health, parent enrichment and nutrition education assistance.

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