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Housing and Homelessness

New LA County Program Aims To Help People At Risk Of Being Unhoused

An exterior of the multi-story Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in Lincoln Heights bathed in sunlight.
A new program targets individuals who frequently utilize county services to help predict the risk of them becoming unhoused.
(Chava Sanchez
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The number of people becoming homeless in Los Angeles County continues to outpace the number of people being housed. For every 20 people who find housing in L.A. County, another 27 become homeless.

To reverse that trend, a new county program has been experimenting with something called predictive analytics — using data to identify people at immediate risk for becoming unhoused.

“We believe that if someone is visiting the emergency room very frequently, is being arrested very frequently, is frequently receiving crisis stabilization holds, that they might be vulnerable in their housing as well,” says Dana Vanderford, who leads the county’s Homelessness Prevention Unit.

The idea is to reach out to those people identified as high risk to figure out what assistance can keep them housed.

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The new unit will contact individuals who frequently utilize county services and offer them enrollment in a four-month case management program that can help them access greater housing stability.

Support includes help with rent and utility bills, relocation fees if needed, and connection to long-term healthcare and social services.

Vanderford says spending a few thousand dollars at a critical time can keep people housed and save the county money in the long run.

Since the program launched in July, the predictive tool has created a list of more than 500 people in need of intervention. So far 57 people, or about 13% of those reached, have enrolled.

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