For Immediate Release: May 10, 2023
COUNCIL ADOPTS MOTION FROM COUNCILMEMBER RAMAN TO BRING MENTAL HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE SERVICES TO CITY-FUNDED INTERIM HOUSING SITES
LOS ANGELES -- Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously adopted a motion introduced by Councilmember Nithya Raman to bring mental health and health care services to City-funded interim housing sites. While the City of Los Angeles has made significant investments in interim housing programs in recent years, these sites are not equipped with on-site medical, mental, and behavioral health support for program participants. Councilmember Raman’s legislation will help to close this gap in services by enabling Street Medicine teams to provide medical, mental, and behavioral health services at all City-funded interim housing sites.
In February, the City expanded the number of fully-funded Street Medicine teams from one team to three, providing critical care to support people experiencing homelessness—and crucially, continuing to provide those services as these individuals transition to living indoors. These mobile teams are able to provide general medical services, behavioral health services, addiction recovery services, and medical care management to both individuals living unsheltered and transitioning into interim housing sites. Furthermore, these teams are able to cover a large portion of the costs of these services by billing Medi-Cal for both medical services and CalAIM services. However, these reimbursements do not entirely cover the costs of the program, particularly for service recipients who, for various reasons, are uninsured.
“We know that our unhoused neighbors often have either a mental illness, a substance use disorder, or a physical disability and that providing these individuals with a full spectrum of care is critical for easing the transition from living on the streets to interim housing,” said Councilmember Raman. “If we are to successfully bring people indoors and keep them from falling back into homelessness, the City must subsidize these services in order to ensure that Street Medicine teams are able to provide continuous care to residents at all City-funded interim housing sites.”
Councilmember Raman’s legislation directs the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to report back within 30 days with recommendations that will enable Street Medicine teams to provide medical, mental and behavioral health services at all City-funded interim housing sites, including appropriate funding, staffing, and other resources to initiate this expansion of Street Medicine services as soon as possible. Additionally, the legislation directs the CAO, with the assistance of the Chief Legislative Analyst, to explore additional funding sources for these much-needed services, including State and Federal grants and potential agreements with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and the Department of Health Services.