The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to renew a pilot program to offer case management and housing navigation services to unaccompanied and homeless immigrants between the ages of 16 and 24.
"Los Angeles is home to the largest concentrations of Central Americans from outside of their respective countries, including many who live in my district," said Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who introduced the motion.
"Since taking office, I've traveled to the U.S. border, and have observed firsthand the plight of unaccompanied migrant youth who are homeless and in need," he said. "I'm pleased to have the unanimous support of my colleagues in moving this vital program forward."
The city's Unaccompanied Minors Pilot Program, which began in 2020 and is administered by the Salvadoran Education and Leadership Fund, aims to prevent transition aged youth from becoming homeless upon arriving in Los Angeles from Central America.
The motion notes that 90% of arriving unaccompanied minors have people, including family or close friends, with whom they can connect.
The Los Angeles City Council voted to execute a new 12-month, $100,000 contract with SALEF. The council also voted to have the Chief Legislative Analyst and other city departments report on the status of the current contract and the feasibility of incorporating a similar contract into the new immigrant services program that is being developed by the Los Angeles Justice Fund to provide legal assistance to undocumented immigrants.
"Unaccompanied migrant youth are an especially vulnerable population. We are grateful to Councilmember O'Farrell for his leadership, and are proud to partner with the city to provide direct assistance to those who need it the most," said SALEF Executive Director Jocelyn Duarte, who said the nonprofit "works day and night to give voice, bring justice and provide resources to communities in need."