Helping Struggling Families Get Back on Their Feet

04/10/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When I delivered last year's State of the City address, it was already clear that we were dealing with the worst economic downturn in at least a generation, and that more and more families were going to need help getting through this recession. So I pledged to reinvent the way Los Angeles provides services to those in need by creating twenty-one Family Source centers throughout our city.

Today, I am proud to announce that all twenty-one Family Source Centers are now open and serving their communities. These centers are remarkable one-stop shops that provide free counseling and connect struggling Angelenos directly to the government services available to them.

When someone visits one of these centers, they will be asked to fill out a single form - the One-E-App - that upon completion will detail their eligibility for a variety of programs including: healthy families, the Earned Income Tax Credit Program, food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Low Cost Auto Liability Insurance, Cash for College, and the City's own workforce development programs.

This is a sea change in the way citizens get access to government assistance. Too often, many government programs are either too byzantine to take advantage of or go unnoticed by those who would benefit from them most.

With the opening of these twenty-one Family Source Centers, struggling Angelenos will be able to take advantage of the full range of resources available to them, in the most efficient manner possible. No one should have to suffer through foreclosure and unemployment, only to find themselves trapped in a web of bureaucracy.