The Policy Café breakfast series brings together clinics, policymakers, community leaders, researchers and other stakeholders for quarterly discussions on the issues impacting Los Angeles County’s health care landscape. From sessions on state issues to debates at the federal level, and discussions on life after health care reform, the series drives dialogue on today’s hot topics. No podium. No PowerPoint. Just frank conversation.
Hope and Health: Ending Homelessness in the Time of COVID
Executive Director of LAHSA
Los Angeles sits at the intersection of two crises: homelessness and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Prior to the pandemic, the 2020 homeless count found a 12.7 percent increase in homelessness, with homelessness among seniors rising 20 percent, and black residents four times more likely to experience homelessness than a white person. Despite significant efforts and initiatives to curb homeless, LA County continues to face a growing crisis which will only worsen under the economic impacts of COVID-19.
- The same populations most affected by homelessness have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Seniors face a higher risk of mortality from infection, and communities that are minority or low income face a higher likelihood of infection. The Advancement Project reports that lower income communities have 3 times as many cases as higher income communities, and communities with more white residents have half as many cases as communities with fewer whites. The pandemic poses specific challenges for the homeless; much attention has focused on shelters and housing, but we continue to see the rate of infection increasing among the unsheltered, who now account for 41 percent of positive cases among PEH, up from 35% in early June.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) leads the county’s efforts to coordinate housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. This includes working with partners at the local, state and federal levels to organize and designate resources to respond to both crises at once. In June, the LAHSA board named Heidi Marston as the agency’s new Executive Director. In this role, Ms. Marsten has pledged to continue LAHSA’s response to LA County’s homelessness crisis while redesigning the institution to deliver a response that is data-driven, rooted in racial equity, and flexible to meet the urgent need.
Join us for a virtual Policy Café with Heidi Marston, Executive Director of LAHSA, to discuss LAHSA’s efforts to address homelessness in the era of COVID-19 and the plan to permanently house 15,000 people experiencing homelessness over the next three years. We will discuss steps the organization is taking to ensure Los Angeles’ most underserved and vulnerable residents are receiving equitable placements into housing. We will delve into the relationship between homeless services providers and health care providers, discuss challenges and opportunities, lessons learned from COVID-19, and how street medicine and payment modernization can be instrumental for health centers providing care to people experiencing homelessness.
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Date & Time: August 21, 2020 at 9:00-10:30 am
There is a limit in virtual attendees.
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