2023 Grants Challenge

Trauma-Informed Interim Housing and Support Services

Union Station Homeless Services believes everyone deserves a safe place they can call home. We support thousands of families and individuals at every stage of their housing journey with dignity, using a trauma-informed and housing first approach to care. Our interim housing and continuum of housing navigation and supportive services for those experiencing homelessness in the San Gabriel Valley and Northeast Los Angeles are an important step towards permanent housing, which is essential for individuals and families to thrive and succeed.


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

Other:: North East 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?

Every day, we see the impact of widening inequities in income, wealth, health, and opportunity in Los Angeles County. Rising rents and stagnant incomes have combined with the severe shortage of an estimated 500,000 affordable housing units to drive more households into homelessness, putting over 69,000 onto the streets in 2022 alone. To end the crisis, we must meet individual needs for housing, provide the services needed for health and wellbeing, and work to address the systemic causes that lead thousands of people to lose their housing every year. In the process, we must treat people with dignity, recognize the experience of trauma that each person carries, and change the narrative around homelessness. Union Station has been working diligently to end homelessness in the region for 50 years, employing evidence-based strategies with proven results. Our interim housing programs are essential for hundreds of people every year as they move from homelessness to housing.

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

Union Station provides interim housing for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness while we work to quickly place them in permanent housing and offer supportive services to meet the range of housing, health, socialization, and hunger needs. We "meet people where they are" with individualized plans to improve their physical, mental, social, and economic conditions and put them on the path toward long-term stability. Our continuum of services meets immediate needs and offers a broad spectrum of support to build long-term stability as households transition from homelessness to housing. Our 6 interim housing sites house approximately 950 individuals annually, 400 of those in families. Key components of our program include: Care coordination from a dedicated Care Manager with a client load of not more than 25 individuals, allowing for the ability to take time with each client for a personalized approach to care. Care Manager availability 24/7 so that support is always available, and a trained resident advisor is available for after hour emergencies. On-site meals, brought in with partner agencies or provided through our own commercial kitchens, that provide flexible food and mealtime options to meet individual needs. And, because we understand that individuals have histories of trauma and that the spaces we inhabit impact our state of mind, attitudes, and behaviors, we offer welcoming, safe spaces guided by trauma-informed principles of design.

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

For 50 years Union Station has been working towards a future where everyone is valued and has a safe and healthy home of their own. Our overarching goal is to decrease the number of people in our service region experiencing homelessness and to bring that number to "functional zero" wherein homelessness is rare and brief. As an interim housing provider, we serve as a model for trauma-informed interim housing - offering clients choice, power, and control, providing safe temporary accommodation for over 900 individuals each year, and leading to a 97% housing retention rate once permanent housing is secured. As an advocate for larger change, our work is guided by the voices of those with lived experience and the principles of social justice and racial equity. We further work with those we serve to provide the community education and engage in advocacy work that will lead us towards a future where everyone has a home, while preserving the rich diversity of our communities.

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

Union Station understands the importance of data collection and evaluation to ensure success. We employ a dedicated team of data analysts to oversee data entry, quality, and evaluation across multiple platforms, including the County's Homeless Management Information System, and produce monthly impact reports using established metrics to evaluate progress towards program goals. In the last fiscal year, through our interim housing programs, we: - Provided safe crisis and interim housing to 950 individuals (approximately 400 in family units); - Empowered 85% of individuals to maintain or increase income through obtaining employment or securing benefits; - Addressed food insecurity by providing over 300,000 nutritious meals across all programs; - Involved people with lived expertise of homelessness at all levels of the organization; and - Successfully engaged the community through open conversations and advocated for policies that advance racial equity and work to end homelessness.

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

Direct Impact: 950

Indirect Impact: 4,000