LOS ANGELES, February 25, 2014 – The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS), in collaboration with other governmental partners and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, has launched a new supportive housing rental subsidy program called the Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool (FHSP). The goal of the FHSP is to secure decent, safe, and affordable housing for DHS patients who are homeless and have complex physical and behavioral health conditions.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved $14 million toward the FHSP over the next four years, including $1 million from the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and $13 million from DHS. These funds are matched with $4 million from the Hilton Foundation over the next two years. Funding is expected to provide housing subsidies for at least 2,400 persons, who will be linked with wrap-around, intensive case management services to support them in their transition to permanent housing and to achieve long-term housing stability.
The overall goals of the FHSP are to improve the health outcomes for vulnerable populations, reduce costs to the public health system, and help end homelessness in Los Angeles County. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and state legislation to draw down Medi-Cal funding for "health home services" (e.g. case management, hospital discharge planning, connection to social services) for chronically homeless persons, DHS will work to connect housing subsidy recipients with necessary health, mental health, and substance abuse services.
DHS and the Hilton Foundation worked together to establish the FHSP as another critical resource in meeting the housing needs of vulnerable people in Los Angeles, building on common goals around helping end and prevent chronic homelessness. The Hilton Foundation has been working to end chronic homelessness by expanding the availability of permanent supportive housing for two decades, providing over $80 million in grants, with $56 million focused on Los Angeles. In 2012, DHS established the Housing for Health division to focus on creating supportive housing opportunities for homeless patients and clients of DHS who have complex medical and behavioral health conditions.
A recent comparison of DHS hospital utilization by homeless patients 12 months before and after being housed found a 77 percent reduction in emergency room visits and inpatient admissions and an 85 percent reduction in inpatient days for those who were housed, resulting in major savings for DHS at an average of $32,000 per person each year.
According to DHS Director Dr. Mitchell Katz, "We see this pool as an essential tool in our effort to end homelessness for LA's chronically homeless residents living with complex medical and behavioral health conditions who are often the highest utilizers of expensive emergency health care services."
"We are pleased to partner with the County Department of Health Services in helping meet the needs of our most needy homeless neighbors," said Steven M. Hilton, Chairman, President & CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. "We applaud the leadership of Dr. Katz and his team in demonstrating that funding supportive housing leads to better health outcomes and is more cost effective in the long run."
After a competitive application process, nonprofit organization Brilliant Corners (formerly West Bay Housing Corporation) was selected as the coordinating entity for the FHSP. DHS is responsible for identifying patients who will receive rental subsidies and will work closely with Brilliant Corners to match them with appropriate housing. Brilliant Corners will work to secure a broad range of housing options and will conduct unit inspections, administer the rental subsidy, and provide eviction prevention services.
The FHSP will draw upon a full range of community-based housing options including nonprofit owned supportive housing, affordable housing, master lease buildings, scattered site housing, and private market housing. Tenants will be linked to physical, mental health, and substance abuse services provided by DHS partner nonprofit agencies on-site or by roving teams. Additional services include crisis intervention, individualized case management, assistance with benefits establishment, and connections to educational, employment and volunteer opportunities.
The project will include an evaluation that analyzes DHS hospital utilization data, changes in health status of housed clients, cost savings to public systems, and effectiveness compared to traditional rental subsidy programs. It is hoped that the findings from the evaluation will provide lessons for similar efforts and public-private partnerships across the country.
About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world's disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton's support for the work of Catholic Sisters. Following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation's current assets are in excess of $2 billion. For more information, please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org.
The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services is the second largest health care system in the nation, serving 10 million residents and providing the majority of uncompensated care in the County. Through academic affiliations with the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California, the department runs three teaching hospitals and two Level 1 trauma centers, an internationally recognized rehabilitation hospital, and multiple health centers. Through its collaboration with private, nonprofit community partners, the department provides access to primary care through over 100 additional clinic sites located across the County. Information on DHS programs and services can be found at www.dhs.lacounty.gov.