How are we all doing after the hurriquake?!

Plus, how veterans at community colleges need a housing solution

Hello everyone!! I hope everyone is doing OK after this week's surprise natural disaster double-whammy. Little did we know that we’d be in for not only an unprecedented hurricane but also an earthquake!

Speaking of moments that left us shook, during yesterday’s first Republican presidential debate, six of eight candidates said that they’d fully support Trump as nominee. The former president plans to turn himself into a Georgia jail today in connection with alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election. I…have no words.

We may not all agree on politics, but what we should be able to get behind is a support system for veterans to integrate back into life as civilians. This week, our featured story is about finding housing solutions for veterans at community colleges.


Director of East Los Angeles's Veteran Resource Center College Jessica Peak, speaks with two of the veteran peer counselors at the front desk on Aug. 23, 2023. (Richard H. Grant/AfroLA)

So, how many unhoused or housing-insecure veterans are attending community college?

According to 2023 data from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), homelessness among veterans in Los Angeles County overall increased 12% from last year, and the number of unsheltered veterans rose 3%. However, we don’t even know the full extent of the crisis because it’s not being tracked. Many veterans don’t report their homelessness due to shame, failure, alienation, and helplessness. Lack of student housing has been a problem at community colleges, with only 12 out of 116 colleges in California offering student housing.

Why aren’t veterans able to use government benefits available to access housing?

Many veterans don’t have a W-2 to show proof of income, credit history or references, which would allow them to access traditional forms of housing. Many veterans, though, are unable to even afford housing. Students who are honorably discharged from the military after four years are 100% eligible for Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) under the GI Bill Educational Benefits, which provides nearly $3,200 per month toward housing. But, if a service member leaves after two years, that amount would be much less.

In order to qualify for the nearly $3,200 maximum each month, veterans have to enroll in 12 units, which is considered full-time. But that brings additional challenges because some veterans struggle with a full-time class load, especially if they provide for a family and work full-time.

There are a plethora of other stresses that inhibit veterans’ ability to access reliable housing.

Landlords are often unfamiliar with the GI Bill benefits, and mental health issues inhibit many veterans from staying with their families because family members don’t understand what they’ve been through

Moreover, student veterans who entered college for the first time during the pandemic, as well as those who primarily attend classes in the evening or online, may not know about all the services and support available to them through the college.

Read the full story for more on how veterans need access to reliable housing while attending community college.


Author Ural Garrett (front center), in the mid-1990s, pictured with his mother, Mary Ann Holmes (far left), and other Harmony Missionary Baptist Church members who helped care for him growing up in South Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy Ural Garrett)

Debates over “who” or even “what” is the Black church have persisted for centuries. Today’s Black church is an amalgamation of religious traditions influenced by tribalism, colonialism and immigration. In a place like Los Angeles—where more than 200 languages are spoken, ethnic enclaves abound and Black people have settled from all over the world—defining the Black church becomes even more complicated. This is the first story in a series about the Black church in Los Angeles, and its social, economic, political and cultural impacts.

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As you know, sometimes we republish content from other mission-aligned news outlets to supplement our own coverage to keep you up to date on the important news regarding L.A.'s Black community and communities of color.

Don’t forget to check out "AfroLA's Take," where we explain why we chose to share that particular story with our audience. This week, we thought these articles deserved a read:

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