Mental Health Services
Homelessness and mental health are inextricably linked. In 2019, The Los Angeles Times found that 67% of people surveyed in the 2019 Point-in-Time count (defined here) had either a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Individually, substance abuse affects 46% of those living on the streets — more than three times the rate previously reported — and mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, affects 51% of those living on the streets, according to the analysis.
Los Angeles has allocated funding to address mental health. In March 2017, voters resoundingly approved Measure H, the landmark ¼ percent increase to the County’s sales tax to provide an ongoing revenue stream – an estimated $355 million per year for ten years — to fund services, rental subsidies and housing.
Measure H began funding in July 2017 and since then, the number of homeless outreach teams has quadrupled. The funds raised by Measure H will go towards expanding homeless outreach, health and mental health services for persons living on the street while also increasing the number of bridge housing offered.
Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing programs are supported by Housing for Health (HFH) at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS). The Permanent Supportive Housing program was designed to serve individuals experiencing homelessness who have a chronic illness or physical disability, and/or are high utilizers of DHS services. The goal is to transition individuals out of homelessness and into permanent housing, to obtain stability in all areas of their lives. The Permanent Supportive Housing Case Manager provides intensive case management services to a caseload of up to 20 homeless individuals who are eligible for permanent supportive housing through Housing for Health, and help clients achieve and maintain health, mental health, and housing stability.