Many individuals who have been discharged from a psychiatric hospital, or from the criminal justice system, have found support at board-and-care homes that provide 24-hour-care. In recent years, many of these facilities have been closing in Los Angeles County due to rising costs, which traumatizes residents who are forced to suddenly find other suitable housing options. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, that directs County Departments to develop a plan that will provide ample support to people displaced by the shuttering of a board-and-care home.
“Board-and-care homes serve as a safety net for low-income individuals with complex mental health needs. These homes are often in residential communities, offering people opportunities to recover in a non-institutional setting. Sadly, this precious resource is vanishing at an alarming rate, and each closure means someone will lose a home,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “With each unfortunate closure, I want to ensure no one is left behind or becomes susceptible to homelessness. LA County will advocate for those in recovery who need community and relationship support.”
Board-and-care facilities offer residents a sense of community and stability. These facilities help many vulnerable County residents avoid homelessness. Of the nearly 59,000 people experiencing homelessness in LA County, 25 percent have a serious mental illness.
Due to stagnant state reimbursement rates and rising operating costs, many board-and-care homes throughout LA County have had to close their doors. Recently, a board-and-care home shuttered in the City of South Gate, forcing its 45 residents to abruptly seek other housing. These facilities provide low-income residents medication management, meals and laundry service, and daily supervision.
Many residents at these homes can undergo mental duress when they need to suddenly relocate from a home they have occupied for several years. Individuals with complex mental health needs can experience a loss of control, and they may grow hopeless when forced to abruptly move from a familiar setting.
“We have to stabilize our board-and-care network and prevent these important facilities from closing,” said Supervisor Hahn. “In the meantime, we need to help displaced residents transition as smoothly as possible to new housing placements that offer the services they need.”
Today’s action directs LA County’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) to coordinate with the state of California’s Community Care Licensing Division to help establish or strengthen notification protocols so that the state can swiftly inform DMH and appropriate partners or agencies of an impending closure of a board-and-care facility.
The Board motion also directs DMH to work with the County’s Homeless Initiative Office and with other County Departments to develop a plan that will provide housing, mental health treatment, and substance use recovery programs to those affected by the shuttering of a board-and-care home. In addition, a written report back with findings and recommendations must be completed in 60 days.
“I want to be a voice for those with a serious mental illness. There needs to be a plan for when a facility closes, so these residents do not become homeless,” said Santos Dominguez, Administrator for the 185-bed Pico Rivera Gardens board-and-care in the City of Pico Rivera. “I thank Supervisor Solis for her leadership in authoring this Board motion that will help our most vulnerable residents get the support they deserve and need.”
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