2022 Grants Challenge

Count the Uncounted: Unhoused AAPI

Unhoused Asian American Pacific Islanders are drastically undercounted by housing authorities and homeless service providers. Language and cultural barriers prevent unhoused AAPI from receiving shelter and housing. Our multilingual, multicultural campaign to Count the Uncounted AAPI is the first step in getting services and housing to homeless AAPI. Homeless authorities claim that there are 36 homeless AAPI in Koreatown. When the reality is that there are 700 plus including 200 LGBTQ+ Korean youth.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Father's Table Shelter operated by a Korean speaking pastor. His shelter workers are formerly homeless and do not have access to social media. His lead staff member, Michael Pratt, is fully bilinugal in English and Korean.

What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Housing and Homelessness

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

Central LA

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Unhoused AAPI in Koreatown often refuse to go to DTLA shelters or seek help with mainstream homeless service providers. Language and cultural barriers exist within the homeless services industry. Many unhoused AAPI are limited English speakers. They report linguistic and cultural discrimination by mainstream housing providers. They also report racialized bullying, harassment, or even assault by non-AAPI shelter residents. Mainstream homeless service providers like LAHSA, PATH, and SABAN often lack staff who speak Los Angeles's threshold Asian languages: Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Monolingual English-speaking or non-Asian language-speaking staff cannot do adequate outreach to unhoused AAPI. They also do not have the cultural knowledge to identify different AAPI or where AAPI might hide. Hence, unhoused AAPI are drastically undercounted. LAHSA reported 36 and Koreatown for All reported 14-20 in Central LA. There are 700 plus uhoused AAPI.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

"Count The Uncounted: Unhoused AAPI" seeks to expand our Central LA outreach to every single block in Koreatown. We will also start a hotline to connect unhoused AAPI to in-language and culturally-competent support. Our in-house team speaks English, Spanish, Korean, and French. We will post notices of our AAPI census count and services in Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Thai, Tagalog, and Urdu. These notices will be distributed one on one at encampments and on the street. They will also be posted at places of worship, community centers, Korean saunas, supermarkets, mini-markets, room salons, hostess bars, and nightclubs. We will also engage with hyper-local media such as community-based or faith-based organization newsletters. We will also engage with local ethnic media such as Radio Korea about "Count The Uncounted". We will build a coalition of ethnic community organizations in Koreatown to assist with information dissemination and counting the uncounted. We will also research, count, and compile contact information for individuals at mainstream homeless service providers who speak an AAPI language. We will also create a people's guide to Los Angeles social and human services in AAPI languages. We already have one in Korean and have borrowed two in English and Spanish.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census count, the number of people identifying as Asian in LA County grew by 11.4%, far more than any other group. That’s equal to an increase of 153,199 residents. The overall county growth in the last decade was 195,404 (a net 2% increase). Population growth and gentrification in Koreatown have created an unprecedented number of unhoused AAPI. Mainstream homeless service providers have been overwhelmed by the increase in unhoused English and Spanish speakers to keep up with unhoused AAPI. As such, AAPI slipped through the cracks. "Count the Uncounted: Unhoused AAPI" will shift the narrative unhoused AAPI and shed light on the issue. It will also help expand our existing outreach and services. Recognizing the real number of unhoused AAPI will bring additional services including housing. We want to make LA a truly inclusive and safer place for all by counting the uncounted in order to expand in-language, culturally competent support to unhoused AAPI.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Asian Americans for Housing and Environmental Justice (AA4H) has been working with Father's Table Shelter (FTS) for three years on their homeless outreach and shelter. FTS has been working for over 6 years on their homeless outreach and shelter. FTS has been about half Korean and half diverse (Black, white, indigenous/Native, and Latinx) for most of those years. One month ago, we decided to include two more shifts in our outreach to focus specifically on unhoused AAPI. We define and measure our success by counting and mapping unhoused AAPI and getting them into a mainstream, grassroots, and ethnic network of homeless service providers. We will also use our count to advocate for an AAPI homeless service center in Koreatown. We already have a commercial space that we can convert. We must have a count in order to further our advocacy and expand our in-house services and support.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 700

Indirect Impact: 500,000

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

Susan Park has been working as a volunteer in homeless services for 7 years. She formalized her nonprofit in February 2020. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, she reached out to Pastor Moody Ko of Father's Table Shelter in February of 2020. She wanted to join resources: her knowledge of American process, grant writing, funding, and administrative skills with a grassroots organization that could grow with he professiol skills. Pastor Ko has over 6 years of experience doing outreach 7 days a week where he reaches approximately 3000 people per month. Michael Pratt has lived experience of being homeless and addicted with mental health issues. He has overcome and can help in a more deeply connected way through shared experience.