For years, there’s been a growing chorus calling for the expansion of ODR’s clinical housing program. Activists have demonstrated and judges have written op-eds pointing out the need to build on the program’s success in moving sick people out of jail and into transformative community-based housing.
Now, hundreds more people will soon be diverted from jail into ODR’s supportive housing program, thanks to a commitment of additional state and local funds.
The program is expected to grow from 2,200 beds to 2,950, marking the largest housing expansion since ODR was created in 2015. Most of the new beds will be financed through state funds. The remainder is through Measure J funds that were approved by the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 4.
“ODR is a critical LA County program that provides the appropriate services that our jails were never equipped to provide,” said LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. “This program helps restore dignity to thousands of vulnerable men and women.”
While ODR runs the program, its success depends on a broad base of partnerships with the courts, law enforcement and community-based partners. Nonprofit partners are especially critical because they provide the housing, case management and other services to support people as they recover from illness and trauma. And with that housing stability and support, ODR clients are proving that they can succeed in the same communities they once struggled in. And they are less likely to end up back in jail.
“ODR is honored to be entrusted with bettering the lives of more vulnerable clients who suffer while incarcerated,” ODR’s Medical Director Kristen Ochoa said. “They deserve housing, clinical services and a supportive community of people who care about them.”