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LA County launches first-ever mobile clinic fleet to serve homeless encampments

SKID ROW, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — On Friday, Los Angeles County launched its first-ever fleet of mobile clinics on wheels that will serve people in homeless encampments. “In Skid Row too many of our neighbors and community members have succumbed to death and illness because they didn’t get the social support and medical care that they needed,” an attendee said.

‘Medical care right where you are’: L.A. County launches mobile clinics as big as semis

“The pandemic had thrust the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services directly into street medicine, but the need went beyond the coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times Reporter Emily Alpert Reyes writes. “So the Department of Health Services launched its own system of rolling clinics this fall, expanding the range of medical care that its clinicians can immediately offer to unhoused people.”

Video: One man’s story from homeless to housed — and the program that made it possible

When it comes to L.A.’s homeless crisis, social workers say the current system does a decent job of getting people in the front door, but then lose too many out the back door and they end up on the street again. L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez joined us to share the story of a man who went from homeless to housed and the program that made it possible.

Column: Stalked by death, they are gathered off the streets and cared for by an army of angels

The Los Angeles Times highlights the LA County Department of Health Services-Housing for Health’s (HFH) clinical team, which visits the homes of formerly unhoused people with serious medical conditions in an effort to improve their health and keep them housed.

Column: He was homeless and in hospice. His recovery is a lesson in what it takes to save a life

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez features the story of Sean Sauceda a client of Housing for Health, a 10-year-old L.A. County program that does outreach, lines up housing and provides long-term case management. “The journey of caring for people experiencing homelessness does not end when they enter a motel room or a house or whatever it is,” said Dr. Heidi Behforouz, medical director of Housing for Health.

Editorial: If homeless women have trouble getting contraception, why not bring it to them?

The Los Angeles Times editorial board highlights Housing for Health’s emerging mobile clinic program, which will enable county health care providers to offer reproductive care that’s usually available only in brick-and-mortar clinics. The teams will also offer and prenatal care to pregnant women.

LA County uses computer model to help predict homelessness

Spectrum News 1 featured Housing for Health’s Homeless Prevention Unit, a pilot program that uses a predictive tool developed by UCLA researchers at the California Policy Lab,  to pull data from eight LA County agencies to help outreach workers find people at greatest risk of losing their homes.

Can a Target gift card help you stay off meth? This L.A. program is trying it

In Los Angeles County, contingency management remains uncommon despite strong evidence that such programs can help people stop using meth and other stimulants that can derail and end lives. But Housing for Health has rolled out a program in an area hit hardest by overdose deaths.

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.

Skid row is an overdose ‘epicenter.’ But methadone can be miles away

Amid the enduring crisis in opioid overdose deaths on Skid Row, many experts have argued that regulations need to be eased to help more people access methadone treatment. Medications such as methadone dampen cravings and the pangs of withdrawal from opioids, and has been a crucial way to help people escape opioid addiction. The Los Angeles Times explores barriers to opioid use disorder treatment in the overdose epicenter of Los Angeles County, and Dr. Emily Thomas, HFH Medical Director of the Star Clinic, is quoted, noting that what health officials have learned “…is that you really have to bring healthcare services to people experiencing homelessness- and those who are formerly homeless- where they are.”

A new skid row facility where homeless women can try ‘to get whole and heal’

The Los Angeles Times highlights the Oasis, a clean and tranquil 40-bed site dotted with palm trees on Skid Row. Run by Wesley Health Centers and created through a joint effort of the city and county of Los Angeles, the facility provides “recuperative care,” which includes medical monitoring, counseling and case management, for homeless people who are medically vulnerable. Such sites have traditionally served unhoused people who have just been released from hospitals, offering the kind of basic care that other Angelenos might get from family or friends at home as they recover. Senior Director of Programs at Housing for Health, Libby Boyce, is quoted speaking about the Oasis, the first facility of its kind specifically for unhoused women. 

Column: ‘This work speaks to my heart’: A student helps take primary medicine to the street

The Los Angeles Times highlights the work of a street medicine team with members from the Venice Family Clinic, the People’s Concern, and the USC street medicine program. Dr. Heidi Behforouz, HFH Medical Director, is quoted speaking about the growth of the County’s street medicine program: “It’s the beginning of our revolution.”

An Oasis on Skid Row

The County of Los Angeles Newsroom features The Oasis on its Vimeo video page: The Oasis is a first of its kind “recuperative care” center, exclusively for homeless women on Skid Row. The interim housing facility can accommodate as many as 120 women per year, each staying an average of four months. View the video to hear HFH Senior Director of Programs, Libby Boyce, explain the importance of the site. 

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.

Skid row is an overdose ‘epicenter.’ But methadone can be miles away

Amid the enduring crisis in opioid overdose deaths on Skid Row, many experts have argued that regulations need to be eased to help more people access methadone treatment. Medications such as methadone dampen cravings and the pangs of withdrawal from opioids, and has been a crucial way to help people escape opioid addiction. The Los Angeles Times explores barriers to opioid use disorder treatment in the overdose epicenter of Los Angeles County, and Dr. Emily Thomas, HFH Medical Director of the Star Clinic, is quoted, noting that what health officials have learned “…is that you really have to bring healthcare services to people experiencing homelessness- and those who are formerly homeless- where they are.”

A new skid row facility where homeless women can try ‘to get whole and heal’

The Los Angeles Times highlights the Oasis, a clean and tranquil 40-bed site dotted with palm trees on Skid Row. Run by Wesley Health Centers and created through a joint effort of the city and county of Los Angeles, the facility provides “recuperative care,” which includes medical monitoring, counseling and case management, for homeless people who are medically vulnerable. Such sites have traditionally served unhoused people who have just been released from hospitals, offering the kind of basic care that other Angelenos might get from family or friends at home as they recover. Senior Director of Programs at Housing for Health, Libby Boyce, is quoted speaking about the Oasis, the first facility of its kind specifically for unhoused women. 

Column: ‘This work speaks to my heart’: A student helps take primary medicine to the street

The Los Angeles Times highlights the work of a street medicine team with members from the Venice Family Clinic, the People’s Concern, and the USC street medicine program. Dr. Heidi Behforouz, HFH Medical Director, is quoted speaking about the growth of the County’s street medicine program: “It’s the beginning of our revolution.”

An Oasis on Skid Row

The County of Los Angeles Newsroom features The Oasis on its Vimeo video page: The Oasis is a first of its kind “recuperative care” center, exclusively for homeless women on Skid Row. The interim housing facility can accommodate as many as 120 women per year, each staying an average of four months. View the video to hear HFH Senior Director of Programs, Libby Boyce, explain the importance of the site. 

“Safe Landing” at Walk-In Interim Housing and Triage Facility for Unhoused People

Housing for Health and Exodus Recovery announce the opening of an interim housing site with triage beds and 24/7 clinical care to meet the immediate health care and housing needs among people experiencing homelessness in South Los Angeles. Safe Landing is a 5-building campus built on County-owned property near the corner of Normandie Avenue and Imperial Highway in the West Athens neighborhood. It is a first-of-its-kind, walk-in facility that provides individuals with medical and mental health care, a clean and safe sleeping environment, three nutritious meals per day and daily activities.

LA County Launches Mobile Clinics for People Experiencing Homelessness

A first-of-its-kind fleet of full-service medical clinics on wheels will begin making daily stops at homeless encampments throughout Los Angeles County today to address urgent health and social needs among people experiencing homelessness. Each Housing for Health mobile medical unit is equipped with full-service exam rooms to provide primary care, such as vaccines and medications; urgent care procedures such as wound care, ultrasounds, and blood work; woman-focused care such as cervical cancer screening, diagnosis for sexually transmitted diseases, obstetrics, and prenatal care; and life-saving COVID-19 testing and healthcare 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.