Hilton Foundation Awards $875,000 to Address Homelessness in Los Angeles and Fund Research to Improve Lives of Foster Care Youth
LOS ANGELES, March 4, 2009 — The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation today announced its board’s approval of $875,000 in grants to organizations focused on two of the foundation’s key initiatives in Los Angeles: homelessness and foster youth. The Weingart Center Association and United Way of Greater Los Angeles will each receive $300,000 to expand services for the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless during the current economic crisis. The University of Pennsylvania will receive $275,000 toward a study of the condition of young adults who have aged out of foster care in Los Angeles County.
“The Hilton Foundation recognizes that many individuals and families in Los Angeles are in danger of falling through the cracks at this difficult period in our country,” said Steven M. Hilton, president and chief executive officer of the Hilton Foundation. “One of our goals is to provide help before situations become emergencies, and we know that the Weingart Center and United Way of Greater Los Angeles are especially equipped to achieve this.” Hilton added, “Many of our youth transitioning out of foster care also find themselves in very vulnerable situations, so we hope to find ways to better assure their success.”
Weingart Center Association (WCA), based in Los Angeles, will use the funds to support the development of a state-of-the-art Los Angeles Downtown Community Health Center that will serve the poor, both housed and homeless residents, and workers in downtown Los Angeles as part of the Skid Row Homeless Healthcare Initiative. Once completed, the Community Health Center will offer a unique array of medical and other services, in partnership with the JWCH Institute and the County of Los Angeles, which will help meet the needs of even more vulnerable populations. Dedicated to serving the homeless in downtown Los Angeles for over two decades, the WCA offers transitional housing and numerous other resources which create fundamental pathways out of homelessness and poverty for men and women.
Due to the current economic crisis, an increasing number of individuals and families are at risk of being homeless and are struggling to meet basic needs. In Los Angeles County, unemployment is at 10.5%, the number of people on food stamps has increased greatly and calls to the government hotline for social services increased by 20,000 each month during this winter. United Way of Greater Los Angeles will distribute funds from the Hilton grant to more than 30 organizations that are providing emergency services throughout the County to help prevent people from falling into homelessness. Funds will be used to provide motel vouchers, rent subsidies, meals, groceries and emergency and transitional shelter beds can be made available.
University of Pennsylvania Professor of Social Policy Dennis Culhane is an internationally-recognized researcher whose studies in homelessness have had wide policy impact at both local and federal levels. Partnering with the County of Los Angeles, Dr. Culhane will investigate how youth who have exited foster care have fared as adults. Such outcomes as employment earnings, public assistance, homelessness, public health services, justice system involvement, and dependent care of their own children will be explored. The conclusions will prove invaluable in determining the efficacy and cost effectiveness of current programs and what interventions might be provided to help youth successfully transition out of the foster care system.
Based in Los Angeles, the Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by the late hotel entrepreneur and business leader, Conrad N. Hilton, who left his fortune to the foundation when he died in 1979 with instructions to help the most disadvantaged and vulnerable throughout the world without regard to religion, ethnicity or geography. Barron Hilton, who also led Hilton Hotels Corporation and is current chairman of the foundation, has joined his father in committing to leave the bulk of his wealth to the foundation. Since its inception, the foundation, along with its related entities, has committed more than $800 million for charitable projects throughout the world.
For more information, visit www.hiltonfoundation.org