2020 Grants Challenge

A “Whole Child” Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing at A Place Called Home

A Place Called Home will help improve mental health and wellness outcomes for 1,000 youth in South Central LA with a wraparound approach encompassing physical and socioemotional health, nutrition, family dynamic and function, and educational support. Our program team works closely with our counselors and clinicians to ensure that youths’ daily care and learning experiences are informed by trauma awareness and focused on healing. By providing individualized support, we will help underserved youth in South Central live their best lives.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Mental health is a multifaceted aspect of wellness affected by many factors. At A Place Called Home, we take them all into account. We are based in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in South LA, where 40% of residents over age 25 have less than a 9th grade education and fewer than 4% have Bachelor’s degrees. Of members reporting income, 87% live at or below the federal poverty line. Our community is primarily Latinx. Residents face high rates of violence and drug use, growing homelessness, underperforming schools, and limited access to healthy food and safe recreational space – all leading to increases in childhood substance abuse, conduct disorders and elevated dropout rates. Per the National Council for Behavioral Health, people of color encounter significant disparities accessing mental health resources and increased stigma. The National Institutes of Health report that Latinos experience socioeconomic barriers because of language, acculturation and immigration status.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

A Place Called Home is distinctive for its holistic “Whole Child” approach addressing multiple areas of need to improve wellness, from physical and mental health to food insecurity to socioemotional development. For 26 years, we have provided linguistically and culturally accessible services to youth members and their families. To build trust and ensure relevancy and relatability, our staff reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of our constituent community. More than a third of our program and administrative staff live in South Los Angeles, including our Executive Director. Our staff includes trained bilingual mental health professionals and case managers (Spanish/English). APCH was founded in the aftermath of the 1992 LA riots, and we have decades of experience working closely with a community in crisis. Since inception, we have served more than 20,000 youth and families and another 150,000 community members through supportive services and neighborhood events.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 1,000

Indirect Impact: 10,000

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Current evidence suggests that low-income communities like ours will be the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the greater economic impacts to the region, the closing of LAUSD schools means that low-income neighborhoods will experience more negative downstream effects because families rely on school infrastructure for multiple services. Our community also includes a high number of undocumented families facing additional barriers to services because of language and immigration status. A Place Called Home will be critical to filling the gaps in the social safety net in South LA, particularly for families who are not eligible for federal benefits through the CARES Act, by providing direct services and making referrals.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

We are living through a public health crisis. Supporting the long-term mental health and wellness of underserved children is more important than ever. By the end of the year, A Place Called Home will provide 20,000 hours of free individualized mental health and family services in Spanish and English, serve 34,000 meals on site and distribute 3,000 bags of groceries to food insecure families, and serve 1,000 unduplicated youth. In addition to one-on-one therapy, we will work with parents/guardians and youth to support healthy dynamics at home. We will provide case management services to help families access the resources they need. Participants will show better self-regulation, better communication skills, reduced interpersonal conflict and improved conflict resolution skills, and improvement in academic outcomes. We collect data regularly by survey to measure behavioral outcomes, and maintain case management files to evaluate impacts. Long-term success at A Place Called Home means that: 1) members have increased capacity for prosocial, non-prejudicial and nonviolent interaction with peers, teachers, other adults, family and community members; 2) increased likelihood that members will remain in school, graduate, and go on to pursue higher learning and/or meaningful employment; 3) reduced likelihood of involvement in the juvenile justice system; and 4) members can take full ownership of their lives, and feel empowered to make a difference in their communities and in the world.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your submission impact?​

Food insecurity

Mental illness

Access to mental health services

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Strategy assistance and implementation