BLOG: Home for Good
What were you doing before joining the United Way?
My background is in public interest law. Over the past decade, I have worked on issues related to land use, the environment, and international development. This work allowed me to share concerns with various decision-makers, from the Los Angeles City Council to the U.S. Supreme Court. Most recently I did this work through my consulting practice, Sustainable Vision Consulting. Before that, I was at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Why are you interested in working to end chronic and Veteran homelessness in LA County?
I care deeply about issues related to poverty and that passion has been a constant thread throughout all of my work. We have a wonderful opportunity to provide permanent supportive housing to some of the hardest to house and, in doing so, help improve individual lives and our community as a whole.
What are you most excited about in your new role as Program Officer?
Our Home for Good plan is incredibly effective and has achieved real, measurable results. I am excited to be part of such an inspiring initiative, with a talented team of people who believe in the work.
Do you have any hobbies that people would find unexpected?
I have many hobbies but will give you just three: (1) I go hiking every weekend in Griffith Park – I love seeing the mountains, ocean, and city in one large expanse; (2) I belong to two book clubs – we read books ranging in topic from mythology to world politics; and (3) I love to travel – my favorite destinations are Hawaii, Argentina, Morocco, and Turkey.
It’s been a pretty exciting year for the Home For Good Standards of Excellence so far, with a very successful symposium this past March, the formation of a strong steering committee to guide the implementation of the Standards, and now the launching of what promises to be an exciting series of free seminars to help build capacity throughout the community.
Today we are proud to present to you our Spring update to the Standards of Excellence. It represents the culmination of months work by our partners at CSH, Shelter Partnership, and many service providers who participate in the Standards workgroup meetings. It is based on recommendations and feedback we’ve received from the community since the Standards’ inception. And it will serve as a guide for understanding what the Standards are and why they’re so important.
Of course, the Standards are ever evolving, and we will continue to review and refine them as we move forward. We plan on sharing updates every quarter, so please look out for future releases.
What’s up next for the Standards? Aside from the upcoming seminars, we are currently working on creating the tools by which the Standards can be applied. Through our Steering Committee, we are exploring the ways in which the Standards can best move the community forward. And once we complete our initial set of seminar offerings, we will be providing opportunities for even more intensive technical assistance through our CQI trainings. So definitely much more exciting things to come!
Download the Home For Good Standards of Excellence: SoE Spring Edition
As part of its Standards of Excellence initiative, Home For Good will be hosting the first in a series of free day-long seminars meant to support service providers in their efforts to end homelessness. Provided in coordination with the Center for Urban and Community Services (CUCS) and Housing Innovations, these capacity-building sessions will provide an interactive opportunity for participants to learn about and share insights on successful strategies in serving those with the highest barriers to and highest need for housing.
Each session is approximately one-day long; sessions are offered on multiple days to accommodate participants’ schedules. Registration is required. Space is limited to four participants per organization; participants from the same organization are not required to attend the same session. Training sessions are meant for those that provide direct services and/or most closely manage direct service staff; please thoroughly review the course descriptions to ensure the most appropriate staff persons are registered. All sessions are free and available to any organizations that serve the homeless population, regardless of the sources of the funding utilized.
First Session: “Skills for Working with the Chronically Homeless”
Wednesday, May 29th & Thursday, May 30th, 2013 (start at 9:30 am and run throughout the day).
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
4th Floor Conference Center
1150 S. Olive St.
Los Angeles CA, 90015
To register click here.
The Standards of Excellence are a set of performance and quality goals for permanent supportive housing programs, emergency shelters, and outreach programs. An initiative of Home For Good, in coordination with CSH, Shelter Partnership, CUCS, and Housing Innovations, they are a list of the most critical outcomes necessary to effectively reduce and end homelessness, and are a set of best practices to which service providers should aspire. More information about the Standards of Excellence and Home For Good can be found at http://www.unitedwayla.org/home-for-good/
In 2009, the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) created the first nationwide implementation of housing first and prevention strategies for reducing homelessness. The three year program was comprised of homeless prevention services for those in danger of becoming homeless, and rapid rehousing assistance for people experiencing homelessness and in need of permanent housing.
After three years of HPRP implementation, local project evaluations highlighting lessons learned are beginning to emerge. A couple of weeks ago, Our Place Housing Solutions (OPHS) released its report “Internal Evaluation of the Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Rehousing Program Administered.” The report looks at HPRP in East Los Angeles County between 2010 and 2012, and the 360 clients and their households assisted during this period.
One of the most notable findings of OPHS’s evaluation was that rapid rehousing required 58% less direct financial assistance than prevention, but more effort from case managers who had to spend significant time assisting with housing location. The median amount of assistance received by rapid rehousing clients was $2,344, while that of prevention clients was $4,064. Also important to note was that a significant minority of those enrolled in prevention stated that they did not believe they would have become homeless “if not for the assistance” as was required by HUD.
Although homelessness prevention may be more effective in avoiding the personal and social trauma of a household becoming homeless, the implications of this evaluation are that future programs modeled on HPRP and operating with limited funding may be able to help more clients and achieve more concrete results fighting homelessness by prioritizing rapid rehousing over prevention strategies.
Download the full report for more information: full report
Assembly Bill 639 (the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act) would help adapt California’s resources to better meet the changing dynamics of its Veteran population. While still preserving a portion of money intended to assist Veterans who wish to purchase single family homes, AB 639 would allow voters to decide on redistributing $600 million to focus on rehabilitating multifamily Veterans’ housing. By focusing on Veterans who are at risk for or who are currently homeless, this bill will help meet the growing demand among California’s Veterans for multifamily and supportive housing. These proven and cost-effective models decrease public costs and provide a wider range of housing options more representative of California’s Veteran population.
California leads the nation with 19,000 homeless Veterans – nearly one-fourth of the country’s entire population. Let’s move our state from being the country’s leader in number of homeless Veterans to a trailblazer in helping reach the national goal of ending Veteran homelessness by 2015!
A fact sheet and sample letter of support for the bill can both be obtained HERE. Please join us in supporting this important bill, and the brave men and women who risk their lives every day for our country.
Help create a healthcare system that maximizes our resources and meets everyone’s healthcare needs – endorse Assembly Bill 361!
Nearly half of California’s Medi-Cal funds are spent on 4% of the population. The funds spent on these “frequent users” are often the result of reoccurring emergency room visits and a lack of available in-home care. Rising healthcare costs, coupled with a lack of appropriate care for California’s most vulnerable residents (including many chronically homeless individuals), have continuously been a problem for the state.
AB 361 promises to alleviate the burdens on our healthcare system through comprehensive healthcare services. The bill will allow California to provide “health home services” – such as outreach services, intensive case management, hospital discharge planning, and connection to social services – that have been proven to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs for the “frequent users” and chronically homeless populations. Furthermore, it will not cost the state a dime, but will be paid for by a combination of federal, county, and private investment funds (including a two-year commitment from the California Endowment to fund the entire non-federal share of the costs for the Health Home program).
Let’s lower state healthcare costs, bring more federal resources to the state, and, most importantly, improve healthcare services for those who need them the most! We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation, and add your organization’s name and voice to helping this bill become a reality.
Company and organizational endorsements for the bill are currently being collected by its author, Assembly Member Holly Mitchell. These endorsements are critical to demonstrating Californians’ support for the bill. A sample letter of support for AB 361 can be downloaded HERE!
I did not know how the saga of looking out of my 5th floor window watching the homeless people in the alley would play out. At first, it was just to see who came and went and how their little community grew. Then, I realized that it’s amazing how attached one becomes to the people. I worried about them being in the cold at night, especially when it rained. I kept telling myself they would be fine.
One day, I noticed the police and a sanitation truck tearing down their encampment. I was outraged so I called my co-worker Alisa Orduña, who is part of the Home For Good team, and asked her to come and bear witness because I knew there was an injunction against this move. She emailed her connection and the harassment stopped for a while.
Outside our building, I have seen a lady in a wheelchair with her little black dog asking for handouts. They seem so attached to one another. I recently found out that she is part of the alley encampment outside my window. Wanting to know more about the situation, I again asked Alisa if she knew anyone that could help. She got me in touch with Caitlin DiMaina from Community Solutions and we scheduled to meet and take a walk through the alley. The week before we were to meet, the camp was torn down again by LAPD. On Monday, we took a walk through anyway, just to see if there was anyone that could give us info on the people and their whereabouts. We spoke to a gentleman that worked in one of the buildings but, he seemed reluctant to get too involved. As we walked, Caitlin shared that she was familiar with Nouella-the lady in the wheelchair. Finally, a name to a face!
I’m happy I got involved because I feel that everyone deserves to be acknowledged and to know that someone cares about them. Caitlin will be trying to help Nouella and her dog find permanent housing. I hope that everything works out for both of them and the others. It takes a village but, one person can make a difference!
Jackie Berryhill a Receptionist at United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
Help us win $100,000 to create a system to end homelessness. Vote for 100 in 100 days: Skid Row Innovates!
In partnership with Goldhirsh Foundation, Good Magazine has asked organizations throughout Los Angeles to propose innovative ideas to tackle the county’s toughest problems. The winner will be awarded $100,000 to undertake their project proposal. We need your vote!
With over 51,000 people living on the streets in 2011 and a prominent reputation as the homeless capital of the nation, homelessness is one of the greatest challenges Los Angeles faces. That is why, Home For Good is proposing a system to radically change the way that we address the needs of our homeless neighbors.
In March of 2013, we launched the Skid Row Coordinated Entry Pilot which will create a system that quickly and effectively matches homeless individuals to housing and services. This system will contain real time information which will make it possible to maximize our resources by assuring that available services are utilized and accurately targeted to address people’s needs. In order to test this pilot system, we are housing 100 homeless residents of Skid Row in 100 days. Moving 100 people into housing in 100 days is no small feat and we need your help to make this a reality!
Help us house 100 people in 100 days and create a lasting system that ensures everyone can access housing. Here is what you can do:
- Visit our project page: http://myla2050.maker.good.is/projects/SkidRow100
- Click “VOTE FOR THIS IDEA” to vote for us!
- Create an account. It’s FREE to join. All you need is your email address or a Facebook Account to regsiter.
- You will be emailed a link that you need to click in order to verify your address.
- Once you’ve voted, you’ll get a notification at the top of the screen verifying that your vote has been counted.
- You’re done! Now help us spread the word by sharing with your friends!
Good Magazine asked organizations what success for them will look like in 2050. Success for us would mean that in 2050, everyone in Los Angeles has a home. It would also mean that should anyone become homeless for a brief period, there are systems in place to help that person quickly back on their feet. No more Skid Rows!
Voting closes on April 17. So vote today!
Los Angeles communities have made tremendous progress towards ending chronic and Veteran homelessness by 2016. In year two, Community partners housed 3,178 chronically homeless individuals and 1,292 non-chronically homeless Veterans!
Home For Good sets forth specific, rigorous, and measurable benchmarks each year, and the results are significant. Additional Year Two highlights include:
- COORDINATING FUNDS: Home For Good launched the Funders Collaborative, an unprecedented collaboration of 25 public and private funders that leveraged $105M in funds for permanent supportive housing for 1,000 chronically homeless individuals.
- TARGETING RESOURCES: As part of the Funders Collaborative, the Housing Authority of the City of L.A. (HACLA) created an innovative new Tenant-Based Permanent Supportive Housing Program to house 500 chronically homeless individuals over the next two years. The Housing Authority of the County of L.A. (HACoLA) created a similar program for 250 chronically homeless individuals over the next 5 years.
- ASSESSING THE NEED: Our community completed the most comprehensive Homeless Count in the history of Los Angeles County! Under the leadership of the L.A. Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), 68 of the 88 cities in our region opted in to the full count. This is a dramatic increase over the 32 cities counted in 2011.
- HARNESSING GOOD DATA: Community partners, together with LAHSA, have significantly increased usage of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a critical tool in tracking the progress of homeless individuals interacting with our systems.
We have made great progress towards addressing chronic and Veteran homelessness in LA County. Although much work remains to be undertaken in the next three years, we know that individuals and organizations across the county are dedicated to making a new LA a reality. We look forward to seeing the amazing work that is accomplished in year three of the plan!
Home For Good Y2 Report
*Over the past two years (Years 1 & 2 combined), community partners have housed 5,451 chronically homeless people and 2,156 non-chronically homeless Veterans.
Congratulations to PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) for being awarded the Veteran Administrations (VA) case management contract! PATH will now be implementing and case managing HUD/VASH voucher allocation for the Greater Los Angeles area.
The VA’s contract with PATH is an exciting new partnership which is designed to help us better meet the needs of our homeless veterans. As a contract partner, PATH will speed up the housing process by centralizing intake and assuring consistency in case management. The VA has also asked PATH to prioritize our neediest vets for housing. As a result, the following sub-populations will be givien priority: chronically homeless veterans, mentally ill veterans, veteran families with minor children, and veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Service providers in the LA area should note that there is a new referral process. In order to make referrals to HUD/VASH, providers must now complete a new referral form (attachment below) and email completed forms with all relevant supporting documentation to VASHReferrals@epath.org. Once the form is received, referrals will be assigned to PATH program staff who will conduct eligibility screening within three days of receiving the initial referral.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the VASH referral process, please call (424) 294-VASH (8274), Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Download the new form here: VASH Referral For