Health Pathways Expansion grants will help providers reach people experiencing homelessness despite longstanding, complex obstacles to good medical care

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Jen Wheeler, Ocean & Mountain • [email protected]
PHONE AND VIDEO INTERVIEWS availablewith representatives of the organizations below.

LOS ANGELES—The California Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles announced a nearly $2.5 million collaboration to deliver critical care to people experiencing homelesness throughout Los Angeles County, building a foundation for further integration of health and homeless service systems on top of providing direct services.

Sparked by a $500,000 founding gift from Cedars Sinai, the Health Pathways Expansion grants include investment support from L.A. Care Health Plan, UniHealth Foundation, and a generous $1 million contribution from Providence.

The urgency of COVID-19 created an opportunity for collaboration and innovation to produce a new system to serve this vulnerable population. Early on in the pandemic, the gap in care and challenges in coordinating across health and homeless service systems grew rapidly. A series of United Way-led Zoom conversations resulted in the formation of the Health Pathways Group, which brought in additional public and philanthropic partners. The group continues to meet to support the health needs of people experiencing homelessness and integration of systems.

Guided by United Way, public-private funding partners turned conversations into action and created the Health Pathways Expansion grants. The investment funds 16 local health service providers who will deliver quality healthcare to Project Roomkey sites, interim shelters, and through street-based services. The reach is county-wide and pairs health service providers with local homeless service agencies.

Grants will enable a range of support including medical and benefits staff, equipment, patient care costs for ongoing health needs, and helping clients establish health coverage. 

“The pandemic highlighted the fundamental gap between health and homeless services. It made accessing healthcare nearly impossible for people experiencing homelessness,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “Our vulnerable neighbors will now be able to get the care they need. In addition to on the ground services, the Health Pathways Expansion grants create an unprecedented opportunity for the system to strengthen and innovate to better serve people experiencing homelessness.” 

"As we connected with partners in the health and homeless service spaces, we were struck by the disconnects preventing people from receiving care,” said Antonia Hernández, President and CEO of the California Community Foundation. “The grants address this gap. The lessons we learn from these initial investments have the potential to inform policy, improve access, and change the way we deliver health services.”

“We know that reliable medical care is hard to come by if you are unhoused. Early data gathered from LA County Project Roomkey sites showed gaps in health care for participants, despite being qualified for coverage. Partnerships like this are imperative and allow healthcare providers to meet people where they are,” said Heidi Marston, Executive Director, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority . “Whether you are on the street or indoors, you deserve access to medical care. We are eager to see this resource come online to support people in their journey to permanent housing.”

“Providing excellent health care to people who need it the most, is our mission,” said 
Alicia Mardini, Chief Executive Officer, East Valley Community Health Center. “East Valley is thankful for the Health Pathways grant as it will allow us to expand our services to two Project RoomKey sites and a homeless shelter within our communities.”

"St. John’s Well Child & Family Center is grateful for the Health Pathways Expansion grant funding, which will be used to support our mobile clinic team expand critical medical services at Project Roomkey Interim Housing Program sites in South Los Angeles for people experiencing homelessness who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Jim Mangia, MPH, Chief Executive Officer, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center. “This funding creates an opportunity for innovation to address health equity for one of the most marginalized populations in Los Angeles County."

“This funding is an opportunity to bring essential medical and supportive services that address the social determinants of health for people experiencing homelessnes,” Sharine Forbes, MSG, RN, Director of Chronic Disease Management & Health Equity, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center. “With our mobile clinic, St. John’s Well Child & Family Center docks at Project Roomkey Interim Housing Program sites and sees between 20 - 35 clients per day, providing health insurance screening and enrollment, medical care, behavioral health care, and case management."


Health Pathways Expansion Grantees:
Center for Family Health and Education
Central City Community Health Center
Central Neighborhood Health Foundation (CNHF)
Community Health Alliance of Pasadena (ChapCare)
East Valley Community Health Center
Harbor Community Clinic
Homeless Health Care Los Angeles
JWCH Institute
Los Angeles Christian Health Centers
Northeast Valley Health Corporation
Saban Community Clinic
Southern California Health & Rehabilitation Program
St. John's Well Child and Family Center
Tarzana Treatment Centers
University of Southern California Street Medicine
Venice Family Clinic

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United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization fighting to end poverty by preparing students for high school graduation, college, and the workforce; housing our homeless neighbors; and guiding hard-working families towards economic mobility. United Way identifies the root causes of poverty and works strategically to solve them by building alliances across all sectors, funding targeted programs and advocating for change. 

The California Community Foundation has served as a public, charitable organization for Los Angeles County since 1915. Its mission is to lead positive systemic change that strengthens Los Angeles communities. CCF stewards $1.8 billion in assets and manages 1,700 charitable foundations, funds and legacies. For more information, please visit calfund.org.