Meet the 2017 Leaders Breakfast honoree, ALA!
Affordable Living for the Aging is a group of passionate individuals committed to eradicate senior homelessness and early institutionalization by providing low-income and homeless seniors with affordable housing options and ancillary services. By providing cost-effective alternatives to institutional long-term care, ALA’s innovative senior housing options and services encourage independence through interdependence.
ALA’s work is grounded in the belief that housing is the foundation for improving health outcomes. The intersectionality of housing and health is a key contributor for creating healthy vibrant communities. Through their supportive services programming and Social Services team trained in age-related challenges, ALA not only supports the entire range of the homeless spectrum, but also help the most critical cases.
Established in 1978, ALA’s founder, Janet Witkin, was caring for her ailing grandfather and struck with the inadequacy of his options: he could remain alone at home with little support or move to an institution where he’d forfeit much of his independence. This experience inspired her to envision new options for aging Angelenos. Funded initially by a five-year federal grant in 1979, Janet began to explore the shared housing model. She created a roommate matching service where seniors shared space in their private homes. ALA’s Home Share Program was designed to match compatible individuals, enabling them to age in place while enjoying the benefits of mutual support and companionship.
During the time period between 1982 and 1991, ALA developed five shared living residences that provided homes for 60 seniors. In 2010, ALA opened its first permanent supportive housing site expanding its beneficiaries to include homeless seniors with mental illness. In 2013, ALA began delivering social services at its second project for homeless seniors, and in 2014 ALA opened the Janet L. Witkin Center in honor of the organization’s visionary founder. Today, ALA’s senior communities are home to 227 residents and another 200 individuals a year receive program services.
ALA is a pioneer in the shared housing field and the home-sharing service for seniors is the only one of its kind in Los Angeles County. ALA collaborates with local organizations that have similar goals for supporting seniors in the community instead of institutions. Many of ALA’s home-sharing clients are referred by human service agencies operating throughout Los Angeles. A few partners include the Westchester Playa Village, St. Barnabas Senior Services, LA Kitchen, Culver City Senior Center, Jewish Family Services, Wise & Healthy Aging, Pasadena Senior Center, and the City of Beverly Hills. All of these efforts are made possible by ALA’s leadership team, the organization’s history of success, and its relationships with community leaders.
ALA’s work has been featured on MSNBC’s ‘The Cycle’, in the Column One section of the LA Times, online at abcNews.com, and on NPR’s local affiliate KPCC.
Friday, September 15th, 7 – 10am
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
900 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017