Housing for Hires, a Los Angeles Police Department pilot program designed to incentivize new recruits by subsidizing a portion of their housing costs, has been gaining momentum.
The program is designed to help cover a police recruit’s housing for 24 months. That eccompassed the force’s probation period while personnel undergo training in the police academy and part of the first year of employment. Funds for the pilot hope to pay for housing for as many as 200 recruits. So far, Housing for Hires has raised $2.2 million of its $4.8 million goal.
Capt. Aaron McCraney, who heads the Recruitment and Employment Division of LAPD, is leading the initiative, alongside Dana Katz, executive director of the Los Angeles Police Foundation, which is raising funds for the program.
“The overall goal is to have the real estate community come in and offer a discount to the recruits,” McCraney said.
Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff conceived of the idea. The program draws its subsidies either from a Police Foundation fund or from apartment building landlords who rent discounts.
“The issue of recruitment of cops is now a national crisis for multiple reasons, and this arrow in our recruitment quiver has been invaluable for the safety of every Angeleno,” Soboroff said.
There are just under 9,300 police officers total in the department, according to McCraney.
“We have a lot of retirements and we stopped hiring for a while,” McCraney said. “Normally, we hire 500 police officers per year.”
However, recruitment took a hit over the past two years.
“In 2020, we hired 79,” McCraney said. “That was a drop for us.”
Since Housing for Hires placed its first recruit in June, McCraney has been trying to grow the program.
“Right now, we have 11 who have been appointed in the academy and have been selected to participate in the Housing for Hires program,” McCraney said. “The program is still building as we go. We have some owners who are willing to subsidize.”
One of those landlords is Chris Gray, president of Sherman Oaks-based Moss and Co., which owns 14,000 apartments units across Southern California.
“We jumped on it right away,” Gray said. “One of the best amenities for a renter is safety.
Steve Soboroff told me the idea and we said we’d love to be a part of it. Whatever the needs are, if our property fits their criteria, we’re happy to help them.”
Recruits each put $1,500 toward rent, while Moss and Co. is offering a monthly discount of anywhere from $600 to $1,200.
“It’s our way of giving back,” Gray said.