Encampment to Home

In This Report

Home For Good brought system partners together to test the innovative practice of matching entire communities of people living in encampments to housing resources and piloted improvements in prioritizing and coordinating care for people living in interim housing. This pilot resulted in the implementation of new system standards.

The Problem

Matching people experiencing homelessness to interim housing beds and permanent housing units is a slow and complicated process. Overburdened system providers spend significant time conducting outreach to engage and assess peoples’ needs and vulnerability level. Those assessments are used to prioritize scarce housing resources, which are matched to individual clients as interim beds become available, tenant-based vouchers turn over, and new permanent housing units are added to the system.  As people wait and continue to live in unsheltered conditions, they often face physical and behavioral health needs with limited access to supportive services. Once clients are matched to beds or units, they often need connection to additional off-site case management services that can be difficult to coordinate.

The Approach

Convening Multi-Sector Coalitions of Experts and Decision-Makers to Pilot Innovative Solutions 

Home For Good partnered with public sector leaders, philanthropic, and non-profit partners to streamline and expedite this process, piloting innovative solutions to client outreach, housing resource prioritization and matching, shelter management, and care coordination.

We brought together service staff and system leaders with roles throughout the housing process to more directly coordinate housing navigation and placement. We identified two neighboring buildings that would soon open in South L.A. and engaged nearby encampments to identify, assess, and connect those living in the encampments to housing opportunities. Throughout the process, a care coordination team came together to discuss client status, outreach to property managers, and work through any challenges.

Testing and Iterating in Diverse Settings: Design to Scale

Building on the framework and lessons learned from the first pilot, we worked with system leaders, shelter operators, and local outreach leads to prepare for the opening of three A Bridge Home sites in Hollywood, Watts, and Koreatown, providing project management, facilitating community engagement, and providing flexible funds to support clients needs.

Our team focused on tackling large-scale systems challenges in coordinating flow to and through interim sites, including engaging unmatched high-acuity clients as they wait for placement, supporting client connection to off-site service provision like intensive case management services, effectively serving street-based clients experiencing mental illness, and locating housing for clients with tenant-based vouchers in L.A. County’s tight housing market. To support on-site staff in improving services and housing outcomes, we worked with the Mayor’s office to develop individual data dashboards with demographic and housing navigation-related data for each site.

The Outcome

Through this initiative, we demonstrated the power and need for close collaboration between service staff and system leaders with roles throughout the housing process. This new model of outreach and prioritization is showing early signs of improving access to shelter for high-acuity individuals and has the promise to improve flow through shelters to successful permanent housing placements. This initiative revealed opportunities for coordinating new and improved ways and, most directly, spotlighted the critical need to stitch together various elements of the housing process–particularly active collaboration between Intensive Case Management Services (ICMS) and local outreach teams. As a result, biweekly care coordination meetings have become a system standard, increasingly involving ICMS within case conferencing. LAHSA has also created a new dedicated position to manage client tracking and matching at all A Bridge Home sites based on lessons learned from our pilot at the Hollywood site. 

Ultimately, 150 unhoused residents were provided connections to long-term housing and care through the first pilot in South L.A. Nearly a year after participants moved in, about 93% remained housed.