Connection and Housing for Unhoused Seniors
Senior homelessness is surging country-wide and predicted to triple by 2030. Our Street Outreach Team, most with lived experience of homelessness, connect and build trust with the chronically homeless (1yr+ on the streets) of the San Gabriel Valley, 59% of whom are over the age of 50. We refer folks to critical services and successfully navigate many to long-term housing. A grant from LA2050 will allow us to add to our street outreach team and increase the number of our neighbors served by 37%.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Housing and Homelessness
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Gabriel Valley
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Chronically homeless folks are the most difficult to reach, are often elderly, suffering with mental illness, addiction, or just general fearfulness of “helpers” because of past negative experiences. It takes multiple attempts over extended periods of time to engage them and build rapport leading to a trusting relationship that can facilitate addressing immediate needs and the development of a housing plan. Although 250-300 people are annually navigated into permanent housing in Pasadena, the number of people experiencing homelessness each year at the time of the Pasadena Homeless Count remains steady with 53% having been on the streets for more than one year. We will not eliminate homelessness in Pasadena until we are able to serve and permanently house the chronically homeless.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Our Street Outreach and Housing Program (SOHP) currently puts three outreach workers on the streets of Pasadena each weekday to connect with and build trust with the hardest to reach chronically homeless people, referring them to critical homelessness services and navigating them to long-term housing. To increase our impact on chronic homelessness, we plan to add two experienced street outreach workers to the team in the fall of 2022. The SOHP team meets weekly for case conferencing around individuals with whom meaningful connections have been made. Not everyone is interested in being housed, and some who are, may not be ready for a variety of reasons. Clients determined by the team to be housing-ready are offered comprehensive case-management and motel stays while being navigated into permanent or bridge housing (bridge housing programs continue case-management until permanent housing can be found). Other clients are walked through the process of becoming housing ready. Although different for each person, this may entail overcoming fear of social services, accessing personal documents for government assistance, and referrals to agencies that treat mental health, physical health and/or addiction issues. Once housing roadblocks are removed, clients are placed in a motel to begin navigation until housing is located.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Because our team is doggedly compassionate, chronically homeless individuals believe enduring and trustable help has arrived and are able to move forward with confidence. Because we meet clients where they are, leading rather than commanding, their unique needs are resolved for lasting change. Because we secure housing-readiness and offer motel stays (to adjust to a roof overhead) before beginning housing navigation, our clients are more successful in remaining stably housed long term. With two additional outreach workers, our SOHP team will connect with 250 homeless individuals, refer 125 to homelessness services and navigate 55 into housing during the term of this grant. Once stably housed, our clients experience less physical and mental health morbidity, more emotional stability, and an opportunity to actively participate in continuing to better their lives.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Assisting chronically homeless individuals to access critical services to improve their lives is a large part of our Street Outreach Program, but the clearest measure of the program’s impact is the number of folks we successfully navigate into independent or bridge housing. Once in bridge housing, these individuals continue with case management and a roof over their heads, until permanent housing is located for them, greatly increasing their chance of success in permanent supportive or independent housing. We housed 26 people in 2021, 13 in independent housing and 13 in bridge housing. Five of those in bridge housing have moved to permanent housing, four are waiting for housing inspections before moving into permanent housing and four continue case management while housing is located. Already in 2022 we have navigated 20 people into individual or bridge housing.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 52
Indirect Impact: 115