Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo, California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago and other community leaders joined hundreds of residents at a unique celebratory “block party” announcing the grand opening of a new 62-bed recuperative care homeless facility in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. Developed by National Health Foundation, HomeAid Los Angeles and etco Homes, the facility sets a new standard for providing quality aftercare services to homeless patients once they leave the hospital.
“Ending homelessness takes all of us — and this project is an inspiring example of what we can accomplish when our community steps up and works together,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This new facility is putting our Measure H dollars to work, and it will give our homeless neighbors the care they need.”
In line with National Health Foundation’s mission to humanize and localize care for those experiencing homelessness, the Pico-Union site features many home-like amenities not typical of recuperative care homeless facilities.
Amenities include semi-private rooms rather than dorm-style arrangements, an informal “clothing closet” where residents can access donated clothing and accessories, regular visiting hours and a community garden for neighbor and client use. Meals will be served family-style versus a more traditional cafeteria set-up, with food provided by healthy meal delivery subscription service Fitness Kitchen LA, known for its high quality, fresh and affordable food offerings.
“At a time when many communities are fighting new homeless facilities, our new Pico-Union recuperative care homeless facility is being embraced by our neighbors,” said Kelly Bruno, CEO of National Health Foundation. “We’ve involved the local community from the very start in the facility’s planning and building, and made a concerted effort to integrate our neighbors as part of the solution. This block party celebration today is our way of saying thank you.”
A redevelopment of a vacant 100-year-old sanitarium, the project was a partnership between National Health Foundation, HomeAid Los Angeles and etco HOMES. HomeAid provided free and reduced-cost construction supervision, labor and materials, which significantly reduced the overall cost of the project, and etco HOMES served as the project’s build captain. The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative’s Measure H also provided capital funding. In addition, Woodbury University architecture students were enlisted to design the interior wardrobe space and outside dining area. Neighborhood volunteers helped install windows, paint, assemble furniture and sew curtains, among other activities.
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. Recuperative care not only offsets the financial impact to hospitals, but also reduces hospital readmissions by as much as half. A hospital stay in California currently averages $3,300 per day, compared to an average of $250 per night for recuperative care.