LOS ANGELES, CA—Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez announced today that her “L.A. Youth Ambassador Program: Peer Homeless System Navigators” has been funded for Fiscal Year 2023 Federal Appropriations.

The L.A. Youth Ambassador Program is a proposed nine-month citywide pilot project that would provide low-income college students with specialized training and paid work experience to connect fellow youth who are homeless or at risk of falling into homelessness to the supportive services they need to stabilize their lives. The program would provide 30 students with lived experience with $1,000 monthly stipends to work part-time while maintaining full-time college enrollment. In turn, these students would serve as peer navigators conducting outreach, identifying system gaps, and providing referrals to homeless and housing insecure youth of the community.

“I’m immensely proud that my proposed L.A. Youth Ambassador Program is closer to getting funded, and I thank Congressman Adam Schiff for his steadfast support in selecting our program to be funded,” said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. “Tragically among the many pipelines to individuals falling into homelessness, tending to the specific needs of young people has been overlooked and we need to be working more aggressively to combat homelessness and protect our youth and tailor a response specific to their needs. In partnership with our Youth Development Department, I’m confident that this effort will change the trajectory for young people and will aid us in addressing a critical piece of the larger crisis.”

“Few crises are more tragic and urgent than the crisis of youth experiencing homelessness. Every young person deserves not only a place to sleep, but the support of their community and their peers,” said Congressman Adam Schiff. “Councilwoman Rodriguez’s pilot program will not only help us get unhoused youth indoors and connected to services, but will create a unique support system for students with similar life circumstances, and give them a special opportunity to be a part of addressing this crisis.”

“Young people experiencing homelessness often lack the resources and support they need to navigate the complex systems meant to house them,” said LA Youth Development Department Executive Director Lisa Salazar. “Through the Peer Navigator Program, they will have access to young people with lived experience who can help them access the resources they need.”

On April 15, 2022, Councilwoman Rodriguez and the Youth Development Department submitted a Community Project Funding Request Form for Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations and asked for $640,108 in funding for the L.A. Youth Ambassador Program.

For just the second time in more than a decade, Congress will be providing Member-directed federal funding to a select number of Community Projects through the Appropriations Process. Under the recently adopted process, each House member is allowed to submit 15 project requests on behalf of their Congressional District to the Appropriations Committee. The L.A. Youth Ambassador Program was selected by Congressman Schiff to be one of his 15 projects.

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Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez serves as the City’s Chair of Public Safety and represents the 7th Council District in the Northeast San Fernando Valley which includes the neighborhoods of Sylmar, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Sunland, Tujunga, North Hills, Shadow Hills, and La Tuna Canyon. For more information, please visit https://monicarodriguez.org/.