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2022 Grants Challenge
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🎉 Runner Up

Free healthcare for the homeless

We provide free quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need. We want to expand our care through our use of mobile and pop-up clinics to bring services to those who need it most, those experiencing homelessness. Funding would support the use of our mobile dental and vision programs to reach those most isolated from the traditional healthcare system at up to 10 one to three day pop-up clinics throughout the county.

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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?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

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?

Those experiencing homelessness face some of the toughest challenges in accessing healthcare. Barriers to care include both personal and practical issues. Poor health, competing needs, as well as financial barriers can be a roadblock to a person experiencing homelessness being able to receive the care that they need. While the Affordable Care Act and the expansion to MediCal have done wonders in bringing insurance to those medically indigent, dental and vision care have remained outside the scope of the expansion and out of reach for most individuals experiencing homelessness. Poor oral health severely limits the ability of individuals to obtain and maintain employment, housing and other life necessities, and can lead to and exacerbate other ailments, causing endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia. Similarly, not having access to corrective eye-glasses can stymie any ability to accurately fill out forms, maintain employment or even be informed on legal issues.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Healing California cures infection and alleviates pain by providing on-site emergency dental and vision services to patients at mobile and pop-up sites. We utilize both our fully equipped Mobile Dental Van and temporary pop-up clinics to deliver care directly on-site where patients need it most. Our volunteer providers are able to provide more than just the basic check up. They are able to offer X-Rays, fillings, cleanings and extractions to patients. Our vision services offer full eye exams, glasses fabrication and dispensing on-site, allowing patients to leave on the day with a fully customized pair of glasses which they pick. This year, Healing California Pop-Up and Mobile Dental and Vision Clinics will take patient care to Veteran Stand Downs, community health centers, VFW Posts, high schools, colleges, and neighborhood centers throughout the State of California. We are hoping that with this grant we can increase that to a number of homeless sites across the County of Los Angeles. We already work with a number of agencies in the sector, such as Downtown Women's Center, Safe Place for Youth, Aviva Child and Family Centers, and Toberman Neighborhood Centers, who have access to the patient pools of families experiencing homelessness across the county. We would be expanding on their work to meet the challenges of untreated dental disease and poor vision among their clients.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Utilizing this grant, we would be aiming to serve a total of 500 unduplicated patients experiencing homelessness across the County of Los Angeles with comprehensive dental and vision services. We would be providing the equivalent of $200,000 worth of care to those in need. In terms of dental services, we would serve over 400 patients with vital dental services at 10 days of service across the county utilizing our mobile dental van. With vision services, we would provide over 300 comprehensive eye exams and up to 600 free pairs of glasses. We aim to provide two pairs of custom prescription glasses to each patient so they have a spare.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We measure the impact of our work by charting the services delivered to each patient. Using surveys conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Optometric Association (AOA), we are able to give our services an average dollar valuation based on the comparative cost to receive services on the open market. This gives us a total number of patients served and a total equivalent dollar value of services. We also collect patient data through our registration process on the patients' income, employment status and a number of demographic indicators. This information will ensure that the population served as part of this grant is part of the medically indigent, homeless population.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: NaN