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In the Newsroom

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COVID-19 got this medical team into homeless camps. What about after the pandemic?

The Los Angeles Times highlights the LA County Department of Health Services-Housing for Health (HFH) Street Medicine teams, who venture into encampments to bring healthcare directly to unsheltered individuals who may not have access to traditional brick-and-mortar clinics. The teams operate mobile clinics to reach a population with mortality rates nearly 10 times higher than the general population, bringing high quality medical attention to a hard-to-reach and vulnerable community. In addition to administering the COVID-19 vaccine, the Street Medicine teams provide services ranging from wound care to diabetes and arthritis treatment, prenatal care, and food distribution.


 

What sways homeless people to get COVID-19 shots? It could be other homeless people

People tend to listen more to those they know. The Los Angeles Times explores the COVID-19 Peer Ambassador program, a demonstration project launched by the LA County Department of Health Services-Housing for Health in a study funded by the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Through the program, unhoused individuals who have received the vaccine become “peer ambassadors” who communicate the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine to their neighbors, encouraging others to receive the shot by building trust and answering questions. Ambassadors are compensated for their important vaccine education work in the LA County environment, where people experiencing homelessness have been less likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than the general public.

 

New L.A. County Program Aims to Help People At Risk of Being Unhoused

A new LA County Department of Health Services (DHS) program utilizes predictive analytics to identify people at immediate risk for becoming unhoused. LAist explores DHS-Housing for Health’s Homelessness Prevention Unit (HPU), which contacts individuals who frequently utilize County services and offers them enrollment in a four-month case management program that can help them access greater housing stability. Support includes help with rent and utility bills, relocation fees if needed, and connection to long-term healthcare and social services.

 


 

L.A. County’s push to hand out 100,000 doses of Narcan to fight surge of opioid overdoses

The Los Angeles Times highlights the LA County Department of Health Services (DHS) harm reduction effort to fight the crisis of opioid overdoses with naloxone, a medication that can block the effects of opioids when injected or administered. Deaths from drug overdoses have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic with roughly three-quarters of those deaths tied to opioids. The units of Narcan distributed to L.A. County is the biggest allocation of the medication that the California Department of Health Care Services has made to any government or community organization in the state. The L.A. County effort, dubbed LA50K, is meant to dramatically bolster the amount of Narcan getting out to residents, using the same systems that already reach and serve vulnerable people on the streets. The effort has set up free vending machines for people exiting L.A. County jails; handed Narcan out to community groups; given boxes to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and other County departments; and sent DHS-Housing for Health medical teams out with Narcan on their rounds at encampments.

Rise of the American Favela: The new state of homelessness in Los Angeles

Red Canary Collective writes about the work of the DHS-Housing for Health (DHS HFH) Unsheltered COVID Response Teams and Community Health Workers in the Skid Row community of Los Angeles, which includes wound care, follow-up medical care, vaccination services against COVID-19, and more. The article explores how teams are striving to support Skid Row inhabitants experiencing homelessness in their pursuit of  a standard of living adequate for themselves and their families including food, housing, medical care, and all necessary social services.

Homelessness Prevention is Thrust of New LA County Program

The Homelessness Prevention Unit (HPU) is an innovative initiative that uses a predictive analytics tool to locate County service recipients at the highest risk for homelessness, and to prevent them from falling into homelessness. Operating in partnership with LA County’s Department of Health Services- Housing for Health, Department of Mental Health Services, and the California Policy Lab at UCLA, the HPU identifies individuals at risk of homelessness and connects them with a Housing Stabilization Team. The Stabilization Team then works with the client to access resources, financial assistance, or referrals that allow the client to maintain their housing.

Los Angeles County’s Housing for Health and LAHSA Announce the Opening of The Oasis, the First Recuperative Care Facility Specifically for Women

Housing for Health announces the opening of The Oasis, a new 40-bed interim housing recuperative care facility in the heart of Skid Row, along with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and Wesley Health Centers (JWCH). The new facility, a joint effort by the County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles, provides services such as on-site medical monitoring, mental health and substance use counseling, client education, and case management services to women who have been homeless, are experiencing physical and mental health challenges, and were recently discharged from in-patient hospitals. The Oasis provides a nurturing and cost-effective way for women to recover while they are connected to permanent housing opportunities.