Improving Lives

Los Angeles County Awarded $162 Million for Programs Addressing Healthcare Crisis

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) is one of 10 counties in the state that will receive a portion of a $540 million pot of federal funds to develop an innovative healthcare program for low income, uninsured adult patients.

Los Angeles County was awarded the largest and maximum allocation of $54 million annually for three years in the competitive bid, referred to as the Coverage Initiative, for a total funding allocation of $162 million for its Healthy Way L.A. program, which will start September 1.

The local initiative will enroll 94,000 uninsured county patients, many with chronic illnesses, in a program that establishes a community based medical home for the patient in the county’s health centers and public/private partner (PPP) clinics. The program will provide access to primary care services and regular treatment for chronic diseases.

Federal funding restrictions in the coverage initiative limit enrollees to adult citizens or documented residents living at the federal poverty level.

The department spent four months planning and writing its proposal, with extensive input from community stakeholders on ways to reform the current health system within a defined patient segment. A cornerstone of Healthy Way L.A. effort is to provide coordinated care by establishing a medical home for the patient in his or her community for preventive services and chronic disease management for conditions like diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure.

Tracking Down Child Support Payment Evaders

Seeking to crackdown on hundreds of the County’s most heinous child support payment evaders, Supervisor Don Knabe today introduced a motion designed to create a partnership between the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department (CSSD) and the Office of the District Attorney. The primary goal of this program would be to increase enforcement against parents who are the most delinquent in their child support payments.

CSSD goes to great lengths to pursue collection of child support payments on behalf of families in need, and always seeks to establish cooperative relationships with the parent required to make payments. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of parents currently in the County’s system that go to great lengths to evade their child support obligations, even after arrest warrants have been issued. There are approximately 2,000 parents who fall into this category, and they owe over $2.5 million in child support payments. Currently, CSSD does not have the means by which to proactively serve these warrants. One possible solution to this problem is a partnership with the District Attorney, which would utilize retired District Attorney Investigators to pursue these 2,000 parents.

Far too many families are struggling to pay their bills because this specific group of parents are choosing to evade or ignore their responsibilities, said Supervisor Knabe. Our goal here is to create a program that tracks down these uncooperative parents and forces them to pay their child support obligations.

Homeless Housing Program Celebrates Milestone

It has been nearly three years since 45-year-old Lloyd Robinson last had a home; instead he has been sleeping in garages, cars and on benches, since he became homeless in 2004. Homelessness came to an end for Robinson earlier this month when he received the keys to his very own apartment in Whittier.

Lloyd Robinson is the very first participant in Supervisor Don Knabe’s pilot program that will create permanent housing opportunities for dozens of homeless individuals and families. The Access to Housing for Health (AHH) Pilot Project was proposed by Knabe and approved by the Board of Supervisors in December 2006. It utilizes $1.5 million of the $80 million in funding for Countywide homeless prevention initiatives that was approved by the Board of Supervisors last year. AHH is a partnership between the County, the City, and community service providers.

The primary goal of the program is to dramatically improve housing options for homeless men and women who seek care at County hospitals by connecting them with permanent housing opportunities once they leave the hospital. Upon leaving County hospitals, homeless clients are referred to Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, which provides case management services. The clients receive temporary housing, and either a Section 8 housing voucher or a public housing unit, and are then linked to supportive services designed to help them successfully remain in housing.

The pilot program is designed to place up to 115 homeless clients into permanent housing. The Housing Authority of Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles City Housing Authority each set aside 50 of their Section 8 vouchers for the program and Del Richardson and Associates assist AHH clients with finding suitable housing. In addition, the County Housing Authority has set aside 15 public housing units.

Lloyd Robinson became the first participant in the program after learning about it while being treated for pneumonia at Rancho Los Amigos – a County-operated rehabilitation hospital.

"A social worker at Rancho Los Amigos told me about Access to Housing for Health and I thought that might be my chance for me to finally get off the streets," said Robinson. "If it wasn’t for this program I would be still living in the street, but by the grace of God I was blessed."

Robinson officially enrolled in AHH on March 8, 2007, and is now connected to a network of support services, including case management, housing locator services, counseling, ongoing medical care, and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. He received the keys to his new apartment on April 24 and moved in a few weeks later.

"Before this program, we had virtually no way to ensure that homeless men and women leaving our hospitals would receive safe housing or appropriate care," said Supervisor Knabe. "Mr. Robinson was a wonderful story of redemption and courageousness and I look forward to hearing similar stories as this program continues."

"The program helped me gain my health back and gave me the opportunity to look forward to a better life," said Robinson. "I now have a beautiful home that I can call my own."

Funding Approved for Mental Health Special Services

The County of Los Angeles approved a multimillion dollar expansion of mental health services and funding this week. Because of the $4.4 million in new funding, the County’s Department of Mental Health will be able to operate 10 additional outpatient clinics and one additional specialty clinic that will provide an array of services to older adults, 60 and over.

This specialty clinic is the first of its kind in the County that will focus on older adults. Additionally, it will be staffed with multi-disciplinary clinical treatment professionals who are specifically trained to work with older adults.

Over 60% of the services at the new clinic will be mobile and delivered in community locations that are frequented by older adults, such as senior/public housing complexes, senior centers, and homeless shelters. Frail or homebound older adults with serious mental illness will receive services right in their own homes as part of the new clinic.

According the County mental health experts, many older adults are affected by the stigma of mental illness and chose not seek services from a mental health agency.

It is the goal of the program that increases in accessibility through mobile services, like this new specialty clinic, will enhance the identification and appropriate treatment of older adults with mental illness.

DCFS Unveils Outreach Program to Assist Homeless Families

New Social Work Team Located Near Skid Row

In an ongoing effort to enhance services to homeless families the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has formed the Skid Row Assessment Team. The team is located at Union Rescue Mission, the Midnight Mission and the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health in the Skid Row area.

DCFS will manage and monitor the partnership with other Los Angeles County departments and Beyond Shelter – a non-profit program that combats poverty and homelessness among families with children – to service up to 500 homeless families from Skid Row. The 12-month pilot project will have social workers walking the streets of Skid Row to assist families in relocating from the crime-ridden and drug-infested streets. The experienced team will initially consist of two DCFS supervising social workers and six DCFS children’s social workers. Eight additional staff will be brought on in the near future.

The project goal is to move homeless families into permanent housing in residential neighborhoods. These families will also be provided with needed services including job training, employment, support for locating new housing and assistance with overall case management services to ensure that they do not return to homelessness. Multi-disciplinary assessments will also be made in order to determine child safety issues and what needs the parents have with respect to financial, medical, mental health and substance abuse services, in efforts to preserve their family unit whenever possible.

Families in need of shelter, services or referrals will be referred to DCFS, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services staff who are located at the Union Rescue Mission or Midnight Mission. Each family will be assessed and screened for services.

The DCFS Skid Row Assessment Team was created as a result of a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ motion in December 2004. In June 2006, the Board allocated $80 million to the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles. As a result of this allocation, the Board approved $5.7 million for the Skid Row Families Demonstration Project administered between the County and Beyond Shelter.

Long Beach Courthouse to Gain Expanded Services at Free Legal Center

Less than eight months after its grand opening, the free Self-Help Legal Access Center at the Long Beach Courthouse will soon benefit from new and expanded services. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved additional funding for the facility today which will be used to pay for additional staff, including lawyers, paralegals and support staff.

The Center is part of a larger public outreach project undertaken by County leaders to improve access to justice for all members of the community. The Center’s staff can assist the public in completing legal forms, offer legal options and provide information that helps the public understand court rules and procedures.

The Long Beach Center is joined by four other existing Legal Access Centers at other Courthouses throughout the County. Since the first facility opened in the Van Nuys Courthouse in 2000, the centers have combined to serve over 100,000 Los Angeles County residents. All residents of Los Angeles County with business at the Long Beach Superior Courthouse are eligible to access the Self-Help Legal Center, regardless of income.

Free Self-Help Legal Access Center Coming to the Torrance Courthouse

Fourth District residents looking for help with navigating through the Superior Court system will soon have another free resource available. This comes after Supervisor Don Knabe and his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors approved funding to open a free Self-Help Legal Access Center (SHLAC) inside the Torrance Courthouse.

All residents of Los Angeles County with business at the Torrance Superior Courthouse are eligible to access the Center, regardless of income. Although exact hours of operation have not yet been set, the agreement requires the Center to be open during regular court days and hours.

I am very happy that we will be bringing a second Self-Help Legal Access Center into the Fourth District, said Supervisor Knabe. My colleagues and I on the Board of Supervisors are committed to providing excellent service to the residents of Los Angeles County, and these Centers will provide residents, who might not have the ability to pay for an attorney, with free access to basic legal resources and information.

The SHLAC is not a new concept in Los Angeles County. Six other Centers already exist and have proven highly successful in other parts of the County. The Fourth District’s first Center opened last April at the Long Beach Courthouse and has been a big success.

While employees and volunteers of the SHLAC will not be able to provide legal advice or offer direct representation, staff members will be able to provide information on preparing forms, service of process, courtroom procedures and appropriate courtroom demeanor.

County Homeless Needs Your Help

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) will be conducting a Homeless Count throughout the County. LAHSA is actively recruiting volunteers to help with the Count.

Tasks could include actually going out on the streets during this time to count the number of observed homeless, coordinating surveys of homeless persons, coordinating deployment of volunteers, etc.

This is an incredible opportunity to give housing to the homeless. Before approval of this program, we had virtually no way to ensure that homeless men and women leaving our hospitals would receive safe housing or appropriate care, said Supervisor Knabe. I am grateful to the City of Los Angeles for their help with my proposal and I look forward to hearing the results of this pilot program.

County Develops New Job Opportunities for Military Veterans

The County of Los Angeles plans to assist local military veterans with employment opportunities under a plan developed by Supervisors Don Knabe and Michael D. Antonovich.

The program, approved today by the Board of Supervisors, directs County departments to begin internship programs for Veterans including employment outreach, new hiring protocols and education opportunities.

As part of this effort to provide Veterans with employment opportunities within the County, the Chief Administrative Office and Director of Personnel will develop training classes appropriate for Veterans, modify job classifications where needed, and give work experience credit where appropriate for previous military service and training.

There is a disproportionate unemployment rate in our region for recently discharged Veterans, said Knabe.

It is my hope that this program will connect these men and women and their useful skills with employment opportunities within Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles County Waives Park Fees for Veterans and Military Personnel

In honor of Veterans Day, admission fees for the County Arboreta and Botanical Gardens are being waived as well as vehicle entrance fees to regional park facilities from November 10 through November 17, 2006. The motion, introduced by Supervisor Don Knabe, was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

As Veterans Day approaches, it is important that we recognize the many contributions that Veterans have made for our great County over the years, said Knabe. We owe them many freedoms that we have today and they truly deserve the honor and respect of their fellow Americans.

All Veterans, military personnel and their immediate families are invited to visit the following Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation facilities from November 10 through November 17, 2006:

Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park

120 Via Verde Drive

San Dimas

(909) 599-8411

Castaic Lake Recreation Area

32132 Castaic Lake Drive


(661) 257-4050

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

4100 North La Cienega Boulevard

Los Angeles

(323) 298-3660

Santa Fe Dam Regional Park

15501 East Arrow Highway


(626) 334-1065

Schabarum Park

17250 East Colima Road

Rowland Heights

(626) 854-5560

Whittier Narrows Regional Recreation Area

750 South Santa Anita Avenue

South El Monte

(626) 575-5526

Arboretum of Los Angeles County

301 North Baldwin Avenue


(626) 821-3212

Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Drive

La Canada Flintridge

(818) 952-4400

South Coast Botanic Garden

26300 Crenshaw Boulevard

Palos Verdes Peninsula

(310) 544-6815

Virginia Robinson Gardens

(310) 276-5367

By appointment only