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“Survivors First” Program Launches

Posted on 01/20/2022
Five women of Multi Racial posing together.

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Council President Martinez Launches “Survivors First” Homelessness Prevention, Permanent Housing Program for Victims of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking


LOS ANGELES – City Council President Nury Martinez announced the creation today of the Survivors First program, the city’s first permanent housing program for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Modeled after the successful statewide Domestic Violence Housing First program, Survivors First is aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness among survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.


“Domestic violence creates a devastating ripple effect throughout a survivor’s life,” said Council President Martinez “On any given day 1,000 people are turned away from Domestic Violence shelters due to lack of space. The status quo is failing these Angelenos and if we truly want to end homelessness in Los Angeles, we need to address domestic violence.”

The Survivors First pilot program, managed by the Community Investment for Families Department, includes three major components: flexible funding that can be used in a variety of ways to reduce barriers to permanent housing; mobile advocacy where a case manager meets the survivor in the field at a location that is convenient for the client—this reduces the added barrier of transportation when a survivor is seeking services; and landlord engagement so that agencies build relationships with landlords to increase the number of safe and affordable units available to survivors.


“No one should have to choose between an abusive home or sleeping on the streets—we can do better to support the needs of survivors and this program provides the flexibility to respond the unique needs of survivors and reduce the rate of homelessness across the City” said Abigail R. Marquez, General Manager of the Community Investment for Families Department.


Survivors of domestic violence make up 40% of the City’s homeless population. Survivors First will give them access to support services and resources to lift and keep them out of homelessness. This program focuses not only on housing those that are currently unhoused but also on preventing homelessness.


The Survivors First services will be coordinated through the City’s Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Shelter System providers who have demonstrated experience providing case management and wraparound services to domestic violence and human trafficking survivors. The most critical service will focus on the unique housing needs of survivors, as these agencies are sensitive to their safety needs and distinct challenges.


“I am proud that Los Angeles is the first major City, not only to invest in safe housing for survivors of domestic violence, but to ensure we are being inclusive of survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking,” said Elizabeth Eastlund, Executive Director of Rainbow Services. “These programs work. We can and do prevent homelessness for domestic violence survivors when we have the support and the funding to do it.”


The program received $5M from the City Council through the Community Development Block Grant, CARES Act to fund 10 existing Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking shelter agencies. The program model has been extensively studied and has proven to be the most effective method of housing survivors, with 96% of participants remaining housed after 18 months and costing an average of $4,000 per household.


For further information about Survivors First contact If you or someone you know would like to report domestic violence, please call the County’s Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-978-3600 or go to