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."