As many as eight apartment complexes coming in the next two years to Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles will include units reserved for people experiencing homelessness, but gaining access to these new homes may be a challenge for the unhoused community.

An upcoming “Homeless Connect Day” in Boyle Heights will allow unhoused residents in the Eastside to gain access to the Los Angeles County Coordinated Entry System (CES) of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). 

The Los Angeles County CES was created to connect single adults, youth and families to services and resources, including housing, as efficiently and quickly as possible. Those who enter the system are thoroughly evaluated based on needs and given a certain ranking that will be used when a housing unit becomes available.

Being in the county’s CES is a requirement to apply for homeless housing, but people generally gain access by visiting one of several county access points – the ones closest to Boyle Heights being in downtown’s Skid Row area.

“CES might feel hidden to some because there’s not really an accessible drop-in spot where people can sign up,” said Mejia, executive director of the Boyle Heights-based non profit developer East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), which is participating in the Homeless Connect Day at Mariachi Plaza on May 24.

Mejia said it’s important that local residents attend the event because the county’s CES prioritizes people with disabilities and people who reside homelessly nearest to the building in construction.

“That’s why we’re hosting an event here,” said Mejia. “The people that live here have some higher priority when it comes to the apartments being built in the neighborhood because of that connection and proximity.”

A case in point is La Veranda Apartments, a 77-unit building at Matthews Street and César Chávez Avenue from developer Adobe that began taking applications last week. Thirty-eight of those units are for people experiencing homelessness; applications will be taken through June 7 and tenants will ultimately be selected through lottery.

Besides connecting with services, people attending the Homeless Connect Day from 11 am to 1 pm will be able to get certain health screenings, wound care and COVID vaccines plus gifts of hygiene kits and gently used clothing. Mejia said that those who are experiencing any level of housing insecurity should also enroll in the CES, as they could qualify for some housing support.

The Homeless Connect Day is organized by several local service providers. Those looking to support Wednesday’s event may take their used clothing or hygiene product donations to councilmember Kevin de León’s office at the Boyle Heights City Hall.

Those unable to attend the Boyle Heights event should visit LAHSA’s website to find other ways to enroll in the CES, including by calling or visiting one of the county agency’s access centers.

Reporter Carmen González contributed to this story.

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Alex Medina

Alex Medina is a graduate of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and 2018 alumnus of the Boyle Heights Beat. He is a recent graduate of Hamilton College in Central New York where he majored in Hispanic...

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  1. Well. Hi. Sorry to say. Am homeless and living on the street. How long or years of homeless does it take to get a place of any kind. I have caseworker that always tell me that are trying everything. And am still out in streets.. how long does it take for shelter. Of any kind. Do we have to pay the caseworker…..

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