BLOG: Home for Good
Help us end homelessness in Los Angeles County – make a donation to Home For Good!
A generous donor is offering to match every dollar donated to Home For Good through April 15th. This means that every dollar you donate will have twice the impact, helping us move closer towards our goal of ending chronic and veteran homelessness in Los Angeles County by January 2016.
LA County is the homeless capital of the nation. In 2011, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) reported 51,340 individuals experiencing homelessness. Over 9,000 of these individuals are veterans and 12,500 are chronically homeless. In the past two years, Home For Good has made tremendous strides towards ending chronic and veteran homelessness. Thanks to the hard work of our Home For Good Partners over 7,000 of our homeless neighbors have been housed and we are beginning to see significant shifts at the systems level – including decreased time for veterans moving from the streets and into housing (168 days to 100 days, a 68 day reduction!).
Your donation to Home For Good will help support the amazing work being undertaken to address homelessness in LA. The 1:1 match will only be available until April 15th, so make your donation today! To make a donation click here.
Earlier this month, Home For Good launched the Skid Row Coordinated Entry Pilot! Skid Row has long been known for its large homeless population. In 2011, this number totaled more that 4,000 individuals living on the streets and in shelters. For years, our homeless services system has struggled to find the best way to utilize resources to address the needs of our most vulnerable. Skid Row’s Coordinated Entry Pilot will focus on creating a comprehensive system to quickly and effectively match homeless individuals in Skid Row to housing and services.
Christine Marge, Director of Housing Stability at United Way of Greater LA, helps launch the CES pilot at Lamp Community in Skid Row.
Many communities across the country have already created Coordinated Entry Systems (CESs) to dramatically increase the efficiency of efforts to find, house, and support homeless individuals. The promise of such systems, in terms of improved targeting and outcomes, are so dramatic that HUD has asked all Continuums of Care (CoC) to create and implement their own CES.
Recently, key policy makers and funders within Los Angeles’ CoC, including LAHSA, HACLA, DMH, DHS, CSH, and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, came together to start developing a CES for LA County. Their objective is to work closely with providers to create a system that can maximize resources and better serve our homeless neighbors. In order to facilitate the process, Home For Good is working closely with Community Solutions and has hired the Rapid Results Institute (RRI) to lead community engagement efforts.
The RRI is a non-profit consulting firm which works with groups of stakeholders to quickly and collaboratively design complex systems. The institute uses a model that challenges communities to think outside the box and create lasting systems change within 100 days. In Skid Row, the RRI will be working with front line staff from Skid Row providers including – Downtown Mental Health, Downtown Women’s Center, Exodus Recovery, Homeless Health Care LA, Lamp Community, LA Christian Health Centers, LA Mission, SHARE!, Skid Row Housing Trust, SRO Housing Corporation, St. Vincent DePaul, the Veterans Administration, and Weingart Center Association – to create a draft CES. Under the RRI model, staff will be given the opportunity to innovate as they lead the design and implementation of the project. Conversely, senior managers and policy makers will be tasked with scaling up lessons learned.
Over the next 100 days, the pilot project will create a draft CES that will focus on matching chronically homeless single adults with the most appropriate Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units. This system will later be expanded to include all homeless individuals, chronic and non-chronic, and housing models and services beyond PSH. Among other elements, the pilot will focus on ensuring comprehensive outreach in Skid Row, creating a uniformed assessment tool, tracking available housing stock in real-time, and developing a system of prioritization.
The Skid Row Coordinated Entry Pilot presents an opportunity for community members and local nonprofits to inform the Countywide CES and create a system that best meets the needs of our homeless neighbors. We look forward to seeing what the Skid Row community creates in the next 100 days!
A few weeks ago, I attended my first ever Homeless Count and joined a team in South Los Angeles that dispatched out of Holman Methodist Church. It felt great to participate in an effort to benefit my community, especially one that proved to be such a rewarding experience.
I didn’t know what to expect and was nervous about what I had gotten myself into by signing up for the Count. Was it worth the hours of sleep I’d be losing by being out, past midnight? After all, homelessness is not an issue that I’d ever taken the time to learn about, nor had I made an effort to help solve. Still, there I was, sitting in a room with thirty other volunteers- waiting to do something about it.
I was assigned to a team made up of members from the Holman congregation, an LA County Administrator, and the pastor of The Redeemed Christian Church of God. Our team hopped in a van and deployed to the neighborhood where I grew up, and where my mother and family still live. We counted homeless people near King Elementary and King Park, the school I attended and park I played in as a kid. We drove past the gas stations, laundry mats, restaurants, shopping centers, and motels where homeless people sleep- counting them, one by one. There were people living in mobile homes, tents, and make shift beds. There were people using drugs in alleys or roaming the streets aimlessly.
Although I grew up seeing a lot of homeless people, this experience gave me an opportunity to see them from a different place- a more human place. Homelessness was normal for me and I’m sure it is for others in South Los Angeles. These are the people we found asking for change outside the restaurants, supermarkets, liquor stores, and gas stations. The same people sleeping on sidewalks or bus benches- those we stepped over as we hurried to school or walked to the park. They were (and still are) so prevalent in my community, that for some, they’ve become invisible.
This was a huge learning opportunity and one that opened my eyes about my neighbors, the ones without a place to call home. The ones I will no longer consider invisible! I am so glad to have participated in the Count and want to thank United Way for leading the charge to eradicate this problem in my city!
Elmer Roldan is a Program Officer in the Education Department at United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
Last month, 200 volunteers participated in the Skid Row Homeless Count. The count was led by Downtown Pathway Home and Lamp Community, in partnership with the Los Angeles Central Providers Collaborative, Community Solutions, and the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA).
Over the course of three nights, volunteers engaged and successfully surveyed a total of 532 individuals. Surveyors collected basic demographic data, which will be utilized by LAHSA for their annual count. They also administered the vulnerability index, a method designed to identify demographic and clinical factors associated with an increased risk of death in homeless individuals. Of those surveyed, 329 individuals, 62%, are chronically homeless. This means they have been homeless for a year or more and have serious health, mental health, or substance abuse problems. 199 individuals, 37%, are vulnerable based upon health conditions and other indicators associated with high mortality. 83 respondents, 16%, were Veterans, 35 (42%) of which are vulnerable and at a high risk of dying on our streets.
On average, vulnerable individuals have spent 6 years living on the street. Due to health problems, these individuals are frequent users of health services including in patient care are emergency room visits. In total, respondents reported 771 inpatient hospitalizations in the past year. Assuming an average cost of $2,566 per day, these visits total an estimated annual cost of $2 million. Research shows that it is much cheaper to house our homeless neighbors than to leave them on the streets cycling in and out of hospitals.
The information collected during the count will serve to augment Skid Row’s current by name registry. The list will then be used by Downtown Pathway Home (DPH) to prioritize the most vulnerable individuals for housing. Over the next several weeks, outreach workers will canvass the community to begin the housing process and bring our most vulnerable neighbors home for good.
For more information on Skid Row’s homeless count, download the full report.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is currently accepting applications for funding in its three priority areas: Housing Stability, Educational Achievement and Financial Stability. Please review the following information on the RFP process and eligibility requirements before completing the official application.
To apply for a United Way RFP grant, your organization must be involved in one or more of the following areas: Housing Stability, Educational Achievement or Financial Stability.
Housing Stability: Our approach to ending homelessness centers on the “Housing First” model, which provides homeless individuals and families with housing and a network of supportive services to stabilize their living situation as quickly as possible. Key strategies include rapid rehousing system and permanent supportive housing (funds are coordinated through the Home For Good Funders Collaborative).
Educational Achievement: Our primary goal is to increase the County graduation rate while ensuring that every student graduates fully prepared for college and career. We support organizations and initiatives which provide academic support to students, offer leadership/professional development to educators, promote parent engagement or focus on raising student achievement at the middle school level.
Financial Stability: We’re seeking to ensure the financial security of all Angelenos through workforce development, asset-building and budget management techniques – the key building blocks for independence and long-term stability. Thanks to these efforts, local families, individuals and military veterans will possess the skills they need to not only survive, but to thrive.
Organizations that are exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a) are welcome to apply. Organizations must operate or demonstrate the ability to operate within Los Angeles County.
If you have further questions about the RFP process, please refer to our FAQs
To download United Way of Greater L.A.’s 2013 RFP application, please click on one of the PDFs below:
The deadline to submit RFP applications is Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Grant announcements will be made no later than July 31, 2013.
To apply online, please visit http://www.cybergrants.com/unitedwayla/quiz.
If you qualify for an RFP grant in Housing Stability, you may also qualify for funding through the Home For Good Funders Collaborative. Please click here to apply. To download the Home For Good RFP, please click on the following PDF: Home For Good Funders Collaborative
*Please note the Home For Good RFP requires information on organizational budgets. You can preview the form here: RFP Budget Template
If you need assistance, please contact us at 213-808-6380 or email@example.com.
Gaelle Morand’s photography is now available for free download through the Apple Bookstore!
Gaelle’s ebook, Homeless in Downtown Los Angeles, contains a range of photographs depicting homeless individuals living on the streets of LA. Through her photography, Gaelle is putting a face on the issue of homelessness, creating awareness and spurring action at the community level. All of Gaelle’s subjects have stories, and it shows in their faces. Through her photography she is able to convey the daily struggles that homeless men and women face to survive.
Gaelle’s photographs have been featured at various events, including last year’s Home For Good summit and most recently United Way’s Faces of Homelessness art exhibit. Her new ebook contains images and footage of the homeless individuals whose lives she has been documenting for the past few years. The book is available for free download for iPads. Download your copy of Homeless in Downtown Los Angeles today! Click here for your free download.
Last month, over 5,000 volunteers participated in the 2013 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count! Led by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), this countywide effort was the largest count in the history of Los Angeles County, with 72 cities and 21 communities opting to be fully enumerated.
The Homeless Count is over - what’s next? Numbers for the count will be released in mid-summer. As the homeless capital of the United States, these numbers are especially critical for L.A., ensuring that resources are available and services are effectively reaching those most in need. Count numbers will provide updated data on our homeless population, helping Home For Good refine the Action Plan’s strategy by highlighting regions of greatest need. By knowing where our homeless neighbors reside we will be able to better target cities for engagement, working to ensure that every community is dedicating resources to house homeless individuals in their jurisdiction.
Now that you have volunteered for the Homeless Count, how can you stay involved?
- Share feedback about your volunteer experience by taking LAHSA’s online survey! This will help LAHSA improve LA County’s Homeless Count, assuring successful volunteer recruitment and accurate data in the years to come.
- Address homelessness in your community by hosting a “community conversation.” This is an opportunity to invite people in your neighborhood to learn about the causes and solutions to homelessness, connect with a local service provider, and advocate for change. If you are interested in hosting a community conversation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Participate in the pilot Home For Good companionship program. This program is aimed at providing social supports for formerly homeless individuals now living in permanent housing and, if successful, will be expanded throughout Los Angeles County. We need volunteers for the pilot program. If you are interested in being part of this wonderful opportunity please fill out an application by clicking here.
For more ways to stay involved, visit Six Ways to Get Involved With Home For Good.
More than 130,000 people are homeless on any given night in California. Many others spend over 30% of their income on housing. Every day, thousands of families, veterans, former foster youth, people with disabilities and seniors struggle to obtain and maintain a roof over their heads. California needs more affordable housing. How can we help assure that we have the resources we need to create affordable housing?
This year Housing California and the California Housing Consortium, along with a diverse coalition of housing advocates, are leading an effort to adopt the California Homes and Jobs Act. What will the CA Homes and Jobs Act help achieve? The proposed bill will generate an estimated $500 million in annual revenue for direct investment in affordable homes and jobs, and leverage an additional $2.78 billion in federal, local, and private funding. How will the CA Homes and Jobs Act generate funds? The bill will place a $75 fee on the recordation of real-estate related documents — excluding home sales — and deposit these funds into a state housing trust fund. The revenue will be invested into public-private partnership programs modeled on California’s existing, successful affordable home programs.
California desperately needs a permanent, ongoing source of funding dedicated to affordable housing development! The California Homes and Jobs Act will be introduced on February 20th. Company and organizational endorsements for the bill are currently being collected. These endorsements are a powerful way to communicate support for the bill. Endorsements can be made by visiting www.californiahomesandjobsact.org.
We hope you will join us is support of this important legislation and add your organization’s name to the coalition that is being built to support this effort.
What are you currently studying and what do you hope to do with your degree?
I am currently working on my Master’s in Public Administration at USC. I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Public Policy at the same school. I hope to have a career in public service working for state or local government on policy issues, especially those that disproportionally impact lower socioeconomic individuals and families (such as housing and homelessness!).
What Home For Good project will you be working on?
I’ll be serving as a Policy Intern in Housing Stability assisting with research to help identify policy needs to implement Home For Good’s housing supply strategy, as well as prepare outreach materials for the various cities and housing authorities Home For Good is or will be working with.
Is this your first time working on the issue of homelessness? What other experiences have you had with homelessness in LA or in another region?
I first worked on the issue of homelessness really as an undergraduate, when I helped form a university student organization that advocated for and worked with local homeless shelters and non-profit organizations. We mentored and spent time with homeless youth at Jovenes and other housing sites, as well as published a student newspaper focused on homelessness news and issues.
If you had one super power, what would it be and why?
It would definitely be to fly so I would never have to sit in L.A. traffic or go through airport security again.
This month we are launching a pilot for the Home For Good Companionship Program! The program will provide social supports for formerly homeless individuals now living in permanent housing. As part of the Companionship Program, volunteers will have an opportunity to offer newly housed individuals friendship and a meaningful connection, reducing social isolation and helping empower residents in their new communities.
The Home For Good Companionship Program will be created collaboratively with volunteers, nonprofit partners, and clients. In the initial pilot, volunteers will meet with their new friend for a minimum of 4 hours per month. They will spend time getting to know each other and engaging in activities of mutual interest. The project will be a six month endeavor in collaboration with PATH, GettLove, Downtown Women’s Center, and L.A. Family Housing, whose residents have expressed interest in being paired with a volunteer. Volunteers will sign up by February 25th, and the pilot will run from March 18th through October 7th. If the program is successful, it will be introduced to more agencies across Los Angeles County.
If you are interested in being part of this wonderful opportunity please fill out an application by clicking here. For more information, read an overview of the Companionship Program and review the Pilot Timeline. If you have further questions please email Tina Estedabadi at email@example.com
We’re excited about launching the pilot and hope to share news about its progress in the coming months!