2020 Grants Challenge

LA Forward’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Idea by LA Forward

LA Forward is seeking support for our COVID-19 crisis response work, which to date has included crisis response guides, policy development, digital mobilization, and helping to launch and coordinate the Healthy LA Coalition of over 250+ local organizations proposing concrete solutions to the many hardships caused by the pandemic. Our next goal is to organize middle class renters and homeowners who previously felt secure but are now on the brink, and make common cause with working class communities who have long struggled — lifting everyone up.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

This proposal is not technically a collaboration, but LA Forward’s work in this area — and all others — is done in partnership with many organizations and coalitions. LA Forward has been a leader in organizing and coordinating the Healthy LA Coalition, which is a network of more than 250 organizations that have come together in an unprecedented way to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. We considered applying as a coalition, but the leadership may expand beyond us and a few other initial organizations, and at this stage we thought it would be simpler for each leading organization to resource their work in their own way.

What is the need you’re responding to?

COVID-19 has introduced a series of monumental and unprecedented challenges, including:

- Massive waves of layoffs and lost gig work, leading to an inability for millions of Angelenos to afford their rents and mortgages.

- Even those who retain their jobs can lack basic protections like sick leave, healthcare, and job security.

- Unhoused people run a high risk of infection and lack the space and resources to preserve their health.

- LA’s large immigrant communities, including our undocumented neighbors, are shut out of federal stimulus packages and other forms of government help.

There is an urgent need to prevent this health catastrophe from metastasizing into a deeper social and economic crisis, with race and class defining who does well and who suffers most. Through its own policy response and digital mobilization, as well as its coordinating role in the Healthy LA Coalition, LA Forward is helping to mobilize a multi-faceted, people-powered response to this widening crisis.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, LA Forward's mission has taken on new urgency. We are powered by dedicated member volunteers who have banded together and pooled their expertise and energy to support our Los Angeles neighbors.

LA Forward is uniquely positioned to play an important role in shaping Los Angeles’s collective response to COVID-19. We can do this because:

- Our members and volunteers bring multi-issue expertise that allows us to coordinate a comprehensive crisis response.

- Strong organic leadership — with 12 team leaders and over 100 volunteers chipping in since the start of the crisis — and a culture that allows us to quickly mobilize new supporters.

- Experience and familiarity with digital organizing and engagement has allowed us to rapidly adjust to an all-virtual environment.

- Deep relationships across sectors including housing, labor, and faith organizations, and experience with coalition building helps us bring diverse groups together and offer leadership.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 100,000

Indirect Impact: 3,000,000

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

We expect our Healthy LA work to play a critical role in helping the LA region to respond and recover from one of the greatest crises of our history. By building connections and community among Angelenos across lines of race, class, and neighborhood, we will create a movement that can prevent a health emergency from metastasizing into a social and economic crisis.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Without immediate and coordinated action, Los Angeles will experience an epic flood of evictions, foreclosures, and more on a scale never seen before.

Our vision of success is built around the goal of ensuring that housing, healthcare, and other forms of support are available to our most vulnerable communities throughout the duration of the crisis and beyond. This vision is one where:

- People are kept in their homes with rent and mortgage freezes, all unsheltered people are permanently housed, and the groundwork is laid for more resident and community control of housing so we can achieve permanent housing and community stability.

- Homelessness is down, not up one year from now.

- LA emerges from this crisis more resilient and unified than ever.

Involvement Metrics:

- Continue building an organizing infrastructure that can engage 100,000 people in face-to-face conversations every year.

- Create community organizing teams of both renters/tenants and homeowners in 20 neighborhoods across Los Angeles County.

Outcome Metrics:

- Number of people homeless and unsheltered decreases.

- Number of people paying more than 35% of income for housing decreases.

- Number of people in overcrowded living situations decreases.

- Number of households that own or live in community-controlled housing goes up.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your submission impact?​

Housing affordability

Resilient communities


Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Communications support

Office space for meetings, events, or for staff

Capacity, including staff

Strategy assistance and implementation