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Goal of new transitional-housing units is to help tackle homelessness

Goal of new transitional-housing units is to help tackle homelessness
The city of Burbank, Burbank Housing Corp. and Family Promise of the Verdugos rehabilitated a three-unit property to be used as transitional housing for homeless families on the 1900 block of Ontario Street in Burbank, photographed on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Raul Roa / Burbank Leader)

Three newly refurbished apartments may not sound like much in Burbank’s quest to address the local homelessness issue, but it’s significant for two local nonprofits.

On Thursday, the Burbank Housing Corp., Family Promise of the Verdugos and city officials previewed their latest housing project, called Jerry’s Promise, which will provide transitional housing for very low-income families who need more time to get back on their feet financially.

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Albert Hernandez, executive director of Family Promise of the Verdugos, said while his organization excels at helping families find permanent housing within 90 days, the units at Jerry’s Promise will provide additional time to those who have more hurdles to overcome.

Families who stay in the new transitional housing have up to two years for a member to find a steady job and move into permanent housing. However, Hernandez said his organization strives to help families be financially stable within one year.

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“There are some families that can’t get back on their feet at our 90-day shelters,” Hernandez said. “There’s families out there that are chronically homeless and have a hard time finding a job. So this provides them with more time to live in a safe environment with other families who have experienced homelessness and they can overcome their situations and move into permanent housing.”

The triplex, located at 1932 N. Ontario St., is a $1.38-million project approved by the City Council in March 2018 and was funded by contributions from both nonprofits and grants from the city.

Rehabilitation of the units started in August. All three units are fully furnished with beds and basic appliances.

The units are named after Jerry Jones, a local pastor and longtime board member of the Burbank Housing Corp. who recently died.

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The city of Burbank, Burbank Housing Corp. and Family Promise of the Verdugos rehabilitated a three-unit property to be used as transitional housing for homeless families on the 1900 block of Ontario Street in Burbank, photographed on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.
The city of Burbank, Burbank Housing Corp. and Family Promise of the Verdugos rehabilitated a three-unit property to be used as transitional housing for homeless families on the 1900 block of Ontario Street in Burbank, photographed on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Raul Roa / Burbank Leader)

Family Promise is in charge of selecting the families for the new transitional-housing units. Those selected are expected to pay between $300 and $600 a month, depending on their level of need, Hernandez said.

While Family Promise is in charge of helping families establish themselves, Burbank Housing Corp. is responsible for maintaining the apartments.

Judith Arandez, executive director of the Burbank Housing Corp., said this project has been a long time coming, adding she’s excited to see how many homeless families the organization can help.

She said as families move on from these transitional-housing units, her organization can continue to help them by providing permanent low-income housing they can afford.

“It’s a win-win for both organizations,” Arandez said.

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