Shelter Improvement Initiative
When our unsheltered neighbors have safe, welcoming options, they are far more likely to accept resources and come inside. The Shelter Improvement Initiative will bring more of our neighbors in from off the streets so they can successfully be connected to a permanent home.
This is an invitation-only opportunity for targeted public and private shelter programs that serve unaccompanied adult clients in L.A. County.
Los Angeles County has a continued undersupply of interim housing relative to the need. Despite recent progress to open additional interim beds, Los Angeles continues to have a substantial unsheltered homeless population. Only 28% of the homeless population is sheltered in a congregate setting and 82% of all crisis shelter beds are in current use. And there is the staggering racial inequality, given the fact that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are unfairly and disproportionally impacted by homelessness and have far less access to housing and homeless services.
The pandemic has challenged shelter providers to operate and serve clients in new ways. Providers simply do not have the resources to keep up with necessary maintenance, best practices, space configurations, and, more recently, public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While it’s imperative to remain focused on creating permanent housing resources to achieve the long-term solution of ending homelessness, the best way to create more shelter capacity is to fully utilize current beds and to improve efficiency and outflow from street to home.
In response and inspired by The Street Strategy for Los Angeles County, a project of the Home For Good initiative led by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the newly launched Shelter Improvement Initiative represents a two-year project that will invest up to $5 million in existing shelters for facility and operations upgrades to create safer, low-barrier, trauma-informed spaces.
The Shelter Improvement Initiative is led by United Way of Greater Los Angeles with investment and partnership support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
The Shelter Improvement Initiative will impact at least 5% (about 375 beds) of L.A. County’s shelter beds. Drawing on system data and shelter and system leader input, the project will target unaccompanied adult shelter programs well-placed for and open to improvement, supporting programs in reaching 95% utilization rates of current beds, reducing lengths of stay at the funded shelter sites, and increasing exits to permanent housing.