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Countywide Problem-Solving Integration

April 30, 2019 | August 19, 2019

Los Angeles, CA— LAHSA, in partnership with Frontline Services and with funding from Measure H and the State's Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), is ramping up a system-wide effort to integrate principles and practices of Problem-Solving both within the Los Angeles County Coordinated Entry System (CES) and across parallel systems of care countywide including juvenile and criminal justice, health care, public social services, mental health, and child welfare. Problem-Solving (also known as "Diversion" or "Rapid Resolution") is a crisis response philosophy and approach focused on supporting individuals and families experiencing a housing crisis to quickly identify and access alternative housing resources outside of the homeless crisis response system. By practicing active listening skills through creative conversations, Problem-Solving supports the individual or family in crisis to identify viable temporary or permanent housing resources within their own networks or resources, such as family or friends. In select cases and as a last resort, limited and one-time financial assistance can enhance an individual or family's success in rapidly connecting to alternative temporary or permanent housing.

To more fully integrate Problem-Solving practices into CES and key systems of care, LAHSA is deploying strategies across the following areas:

  • Training and Technical Assistance
  • Staffing
  • Financial Assistance

Training and Technical Assistance

LAHSA has contracted with Frontline Services, a national Problem-Solving training and technical assistance provider, to deliver a series of trainings for various levels of staff at homeless service providers and across public agency partners. The first training, which included a 2-day training for 50 participants and 1-day Train-the-Trainer for 20 participants, was held March 27th-29th. Additionally, LAHSA is establishing a Problem-Solving Unit to coordinate the integration of Problem-Solving countywide and deliver training and technical assistance. 

Staffing

Successfully integrating a new set of practices within a large system frequently requires additional resources and capacity to facilitate the transition. Given the significant volume of need across the County and the specialized nature of Problem-Solving practices, LAHSA is utilizing a portion of the Los Angeles Continuum of Care's (LA CoC)  and City of Los Angeles' recent HEAP allocations to staff up to 90 Problem-Solving Specialists. These staff will help to implement Problem-Solving at: (1) the highest-volume front doors of CES including all funded Access Centers and select Interim Housing programs; and (2) key parallel systems of care including DPSS, Hospitals, DCFS, Probation, and City Family Source Centers. Problem-Solving Specialists will support the integration of Problem-Solving practices at the ground level of these systems and CES by both providing direct services and delivering technical assistance to other front line staff as they integrate Problem-Solving into their day-to-day work over time. Problem-Solving Specialists will become operational on or soon after July 1st.

Financial Assistance

To enhance Problem-Solving outcomes, LAHSA is establishing a countywide Problem-Solving Assistance Fund (PSAF). The PSAF will provide limited and one-time financial assistance to individuals and families presenting to the homeless crisis response system and/or to public systems of care to ensure a connection to an alternative temporary or permanent housing option. LAHSA released a request for proposals (RFP) on March 21st to identify a qualified agency to centrally administer a large portion of the PSAF. These countywide funds will become available in August. In addition to the centrally-administered funds, funded Access Centers will individually administer a portion of the PSAF beginning July 1st to enhance Problem-Solving outcomes among CES participants during or after gaining initial access to the system.

If you have any questions, please contact Will Lehman by email, or Alex Devin by email.

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is a joint powers authority of the city and county of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address the problems of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is the lead agency in the HUD-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care, and coordinates and manages more than $300 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing, and services to people experiencing homelessness. For more information visit www.lahsa.org.

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