Long before they were Mayor and First Lady, Eric Garcetti and Amy Elaine Wakeland were simply Amy and Eric, friends of Cast. Along with eleven other couples belonging to Liberty Hill Foundation’s Pobladores Fund, they rallied together to help create community spaces for survivors of human trafficking to develop leadership skills. Now, 17 years later, having achieved extraordinary things together, our partnership with Mayor Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland is more crucial and ever-growing.

Last year as lockdown mandates were being issued around the county, Mayor Garcetti and City Council President Nury Martinez courageously stepped up with funding that allowed us to move survivors into hotels where they would be safe as part of Project Safe Haven. This allowed us to prevent homelessness of more trafficking survivors, provide housing for survivors together with their families, and place trafficked men in housing who previously would have been placed in general shelters without specialized care and safety measures for trafficking survivors.

The city’s leadership was essential for organizations providing emergency housing across LA, and it inspired a generous $4.2M donation from Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Cast and our shelter partners immediately put these funds to work keeping survivors and our staff safe even as we saw massive spikes in the daily case count.

We count ourselves lucky to call Los Angeles home with the partnership of our city leaders and donors like you who understand the essential nature of Cast’s mission during a pandemic and its aftermath.