Building a Roadmap to End Senior Homelessness
Unhoused people who are currently in their fifties and sixties entered the workforce at a time when the country faced significant economic challenges. As a result, this generational cohort is prematurely aging and dying. Add the risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization into the picture, and the threat confronting this group has increased exponentially. Locally, 71% of COVID deaths among people experiencing homelessness in L.A. County are among those 50 and older.
The lack of coordination and collaboration across homeless services, health care, and older adult systems have resulted in limited services and resources necessary for people experiencing aging-related health issues. In particular, Black seniors are disproportionately represented among this group, accounting for 39% of the cohort.
Seeded by a generous $2.5 million two-year grant from Cedars-Sinai, the Seniors Strategy aims to provide a roadmap to transform the system into a cross-sector coordinated effort that ultimately ends homelessness for seniors.
Here are some examples of this strategy at work:
Through a $1.1M investment from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, we launched a South L.A. Housing Pilot in partnership with HOPICS to increase exits, particularly for seniors of color, from interim shelter to permanent housing. Through this pilot program, Older Adults 55+ within SPA 6 are eligible to receive flexible funds to cover the costs of essential services otherwise not generally affordable for–or accessible to–this population such as: dental care, in home supportive care, accessibility equipment, and other housing and wellness resources that support their transition into permanent housing.
In partnership with system leaders, housing experts, and people directly impacted by homelessness, we are updating the Older Adults Systems Model for the L.A. Continuum of Care. This current process will build upon the most recent modeling work and focus specifically on Older Adults, age 55+, and develop a set of recommendations for system needs specific to this unique population.
Alongside CSH, Shelter Partnership, and LAHSA, we are facilitating Older Adult/Homelessness Cross Sector Convenings with providers in SPAs 4, 5, and 6. Convenings focus on (a) building a common understanding of gaps, resources, and service models that better end homelessness among older adults; (b) creating partnerships, resource referrals, and dialogue among agencies providing services; and (c) providing cross-sector trainings that build capacity.
We are leading the Older Adults/Homelessness Policy Action Team which coordinates advocacy for cross-sector systems change efforts. The Policy Action Team’s mission is to advocate for the needs older adults who are currently, formally, or at risk of becoming homeless. This is accomplished through intentional cross-sector collaboration and targeted information sharing with state, city, and local decision makers and organizations.
We are dedicated to forming new and building on existing UWGLA partnerships to increase the diversity within our Seniors Strategy work and establish ourselves as leaders in the areas of older adults, particularly those experiencing homelessness, and aging. Our effort includes on-going research across various systems serving the Older Adult population and, also ensuring to uplift Black/POC led organizations and organizations primarily serving Black/POC older adults.
Interested in investing in the Seniors Strategy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.