Setting a new standard for those experiencing homelessness who need a safe place to heal once discharged from a hospital, National Health Foundation—joined by local housing and health officials—officially broke ground today on a new recuperative care renovation project in the Pico-Union neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles.
“This new Pico-Union facility will be unique and exemplify National Health Foundation’s mission to both humanize and localize care for those experiencing homelessness,” said National Health Foundation CEO Kelly Bruno. “Our new Pico-Union facility will have home-like amenities, and the facility will be an integral part of the neighborhood. This approach should be the norm not the exception when helping those without homes recover from injury or illness.”
The Pico-Union recuperative care renovation project is a partnership between National Health Foundation and HomeAid Los Angeles. HomeAid is bringing the power of the building industry to the project through free and reduced-cost construction supervision, labor and materials, which will significantly reduce the overall cost of the project. etco HOMES is serving as the project’s build captain.
Unlike most recuperative care facilities or homeless shelters, the new 62-bed facility when built will feature semi-private rooms vs. dorm-style, family-style dining vs. cafeteria served, and regular visiting hours for clients’ families and loved ones. There will be a community garden on-site that will be available to both clients and neighbors to use.
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.
The new Pico-Union facility will be a redevelopment of a 100-year-old sanitarium currently vacant on the site and is expected to be completed by fall 2018.