National Health Foundation has been awarded an $829,920 grant from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the lead agency in the U.S. Housing and Urban Development-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, to help its efforts to provide more emergency shelter – also known as crisis housing – for homeless individuals in the County of Los Angeles.
Funds were made available through voter-approved Proposition HHH and Measure H, which are dedicated exclusively to services that combat the problem of homelessness.
“This funding is critical to jumpstart the creation of emergency housing so desperately needed in our many communities,” said NHF President and CEO Kelly Bruno. “We are grateful for LAHSA’s vote of confidence in our work to shelter and care for those experiencing homelessness.”
A pioneer in recuperative care, NHF specializes in providing hospitals a safe place to discharge homeless patients when they no longer require hospitalization but still need to heal from an illness or injury. Recuperative care has been shown to be significantly more cost-effective than extended hospital stays. Homeless patients use hospitals at a much higher rate than housed patients, with lengths of hospital stays twice the average. Without a place to recover, many homeless clients end up back in the emergency room within 30 days.
NHF currently operates three recuperative care centers that offer homeless patients a temporary home where they can rest and recuperate, and receive on-site medical supervision, case management and supportive social services with the goal of facilitating a healthy recovery and a plan for securing permanent housing and long-term stability.
While this year’s homeless count showed a modest decline in the county’s number of people without homes, the number of newly homeless has increased as has homelessness among seniors, shining a light on Los Angeles’ growing affordable housing crisis and the need to expand the supply of housing options.
NHF plans to use the LAHSA funds toward a new 62-bed recuperative care facility in the Pico Union neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles. In partnership with HomeAid Los Angeles and etco Homes, NHF is renovating a 100-year-old sanitarium currently vacant on the property. The new facility will offer a library and public workspaces and activity spaces, as well as two dining areas including one that will allow guests to dine family-style and another communal outdoor spot. The property will also include a “store” where individuals can go in and select clothing, accessories and personal items at no charge, as well as a community garden onsite that will be available to both clients and neighbors to use.
“Everything in this facility is designed to reflect NHF’s values of empathy and meeting individuals wherever they are on their path to a home,” said Bruno, who says the new center will open October 1.
Last year, NHF’s recuperative care program served 950 individuals, housing 67% of them. With the expansion, the organization anticipates helping close to 1,700 individuals experiencing homelessness.