Legal-name: Mental Health America of Los Angeles
Address: 200 Pine Avenue #400
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Officer: Christina Miller, Ph.D., President & CEO
ContactName: Molly Ann Woods
Title: Chief Development & Communications Officer
GrantPurpose: Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA) requests grant support for supplies necessary to provide access to adequate services and for needed food for low-income individuals, including homeless people, who are at risk due to COVID-19 isolation, employment reduction, and cessation of essential services.
Periodoftime: Three months
Audienceserved: Low-income, unemployed, homeless, previously homeless, food insecure adults and youth with mental health and multiple service needs
Demoofaudience: The program will serve low-income residents of all ages and ethnicities, with a focus on homeless individuals and those who have recently become housed. Demographics of the audience, based on MHALA’s service history, are 58.6% male, 40.8% female, and 0.6% transgender; racially/ethnically 43% African American, 27% Hispanic, 19% White, 2% Asian, 1% Native American, 1% Arab American, 2% other, and 5% unknown/unreported.
District: Districts 1-9
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? : MHALA has altered the manner in which we provide services, and we continue to put in place systems to safely address the needs of the at-risk population we serve. We have moved to providing some services remotely, such as offering one-on-one counseling and social services to members through computer-supported programs like Skype and phone support. At our outreach locations, such as the Long Beach Drop-In Center, members can come in and use computer linkages to consult with housing support staff and mental health counselors who are situated at a safe physical distance. To ensure the safety of all our members, appropriate distance is being maintained, and every station is thoroughly disinfected between uses. Outreach and medical personnel continue to provide services and medications to the people we serve, including homeless individuals on the street and those who have recently been housed. We have altered our medical service delivery so those in housing can shelter in place, as advised, and those on the street can be encouraged to maintain social distancing. This entails our nursing team increasing home visits and street medicine rather than conducting visits at the Drop-In Center, minimizing the number of contacts among the people we serve. These strategies help to protect both staff and members from the spread of the COVID-19, but have incurred additional costs. Some of these costs include technology for use at the Drop-In Center and among our staff; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for outreach and medical personnel; transportation costs for additional home visits; cleaning and disinfecting supplies; medication and other supplies for housebound members and homeless individuals; and food for home-bound seniors and members with physical conditions.
2. What disaster recovery service will be provided by this grant? : Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents we serve are now housebound and in need, including our members who were gaining paid employment experience through our Training and Education program. Others that we serve are still homeless and represent the most vulnerable population for exposure to the coronavirus. MHALA has quickly implemented responses to this disaster in attempts to safeguard our personnel and members while still delivering critical services to at-risk individuals. The requested funding will assist us in providing medical care and social services to low-income, recently housed, and homeless individuals.
MHALA has provided diverse services through its Drop-In Center hub, which served as an initial point of outreach and connection for homeless people and those with mental health needs. It offered a place where people could come in off the streets for basic services, including referrals to shelters and outreach to other services. In response to the threat of COVID-19, these services have been altered to adhere to social distancing and shelter-in-place recommendations. Costs are being incurred to increase computer and phone access through which members can connect with our staff, but additional equipment is still needed. While many of our case managers are working remotely, our outreach staff and medical team are continuing to work among the people on the street to provide services. A team of 20 nurses provides medical care on the street and are now conducting home visits so our recently housed members can stay safely in their homes. Considering that MHALA assisted more than 1,000 individuals into housing in the last year, and many among this population have medical and/or mental health needs, this represents a significant work load. Services include providing medications, shots, and health/well-being assessment, as well as information about additional services. To assure the health and safety of our staff, additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed, such as gloves, masks, and gowns, especially because the supply of PPE at the Drop-In Center was recently stolen. We also need additional medical and cleaning supplies, as well as assistance with the increased travel expenses incurred by home visits, to continue these services through the longevity of the crisis.
3. What organization and or individuals will you assist? : The proposed project will assist low-income residents of Long Beach, with a focus on homeless and recently housed individuals, including Veterans and transition-age youth.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount?: MHALA recently received a $10,000 donation from a Long Beach family foundation that wishes to remain anonymous.
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for? : A request has been submitted to the local grocer, ALDI Grocery Stores, to provide funds or gift cards for food to assist with the nutrition component of the proposed project. In addition, proposals are being submitted to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council/Kaiser Permanente, The California Wellness Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation, all of whom have announced COVID-19 disaster recovery funding.