2023 Grants Challenge

Living Wage for Workers

With the support of the LA2050 community, our initiative aims to strengthen our organization's capacity to better serve the LA community by providing livable wages for our frontline workers who are primarily BIPOC folks, some with lived experience. By investing in fair compensation, we will empower our essential staff to continue delivering quality care to the participants in our safe parking program to end homelessness, while also contributing to the movement to create a more sustainable and equitable homelessness response sector.


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

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

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?

Homelessness continues to affect the lives of an increasingly diverse group of individuals. An overlooked and misunderstood population is the growing number of unhoused whose only source of shelter is their vehicle. This population makes up 39% of unsheltered people in LA - estimated at 19,402 adults and children - and includes survivors of domestic violence, families with children, older adults (age 55+), people with disabilities, Veterans, and young adults. The community members we serve are predominantly low-income people of color who have faced marginalization within existing systems. Similar to other agencies in our sector, Safe Parking LA continues to struggle with the recruitment and retention of our frontline workforce. For example, our current fiscal year saw the departure of 16 frontline workers in a department with 17 positions. There is heightened urgency within our organization to take meaningful action toward examining our own values and practices around compensation.

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

The LA2050 grant award will support our workforce initiative to provide living wages for all frontline staff at Safe Parking LA, which currently impacts 16 staff positions and growing. We have solicited feedback from staff, supervisors, and leadership and there is an overwhelming consensus that this is an initiative that deserves urgent pursuit. We are now seeking partnerships from funders and government agencies to join us in moving the sector towards greater equity and support of our workforce. Our goal is to implement a 5% raise for all frontline staff beginning October 1, 2023, which also marks the day we fully separate from our fiscal sponsor, Community Partners. It signals our commitment to our workforce, which we will further embed into our strategic planning process that is scheduled to take place through the second half of the 2023.

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

We envision an expedited path to housing through a system that opens doors for individuals and families living in their vehicles. We play a pivotal role in the vision for the local homelessness response which is to create compassionate, equitable, and inclusive solutions for the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County. We hope to contribute to a system that also considers the well-being of the homelessness response workforce. As the largest safe parking program in LA, Safe Parking LA has been delivering services focused exclusively on vehicular homelessness since 2017, with multiple locations across the county. A recognized leader in the safe parking community of practice, we attend and present at gatherings across the nation. By providing data, information, and technical assistance to other community-based organizations who seek to develop or improve their own safe parking programs, we support replication throughout Los Angeles and beyond.

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

We utilize an internal system to track services and outputs, which supports program evaluation and reporting, as well as the local Homeless Management Information System. Monthly reports from direct service personnel and managers, along with ongoing assessments of program progress towards stated objectives, contribute to measuring and tracking program outcomes. Input from community lot meetings and annual surveys provide a forum for participants to provide feedback, which informs program adjustments as needed and as capacity permits to ensure that we are responsive to the needs of our community. We will also construct evaluative processes for our workforce initiative through our strategic planning process. Measurable outcomes that showcase our effectiveness include an increase in our housing placement rate from 25% in fiscal year 2020-21 to 40% in fiscal year 2021-22, and a 61% increase in the number of individuals served from 395 to 634, with a total of 26,193 bed nights utilized.

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

Direct Impact: 1,000

Indirect Impact: 800