The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services announced Wednesday its Housing for Health Division received a nearly $20 million state grant to subsidize housing for more than 250 Medi-Cal members who are experiencing homelessness.

The grant will provide rental subsidies to the 250 Medi-Cal members for five years, officials said. L.A. Care, which partnered with DHS for the program, helped secure the grant by committing $7 million to Housing for Health over the same period of time.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant which will allow us to extend our model of helping the most vulnerable in our county,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, county DHS director. “Housing for Health has a strong history of partnership with L.A. Care, successfully engaging and housing high-need individuals experiencing homelessness.”

The grant was provided as part of the Housing for a Healthy California program and will expand Housing for Health’s partnership with L.A. Care, officials said. L.A. Care, which offers the Medi-Cal health plan, is the largest publicly operated health plan in the United States and serves 2.2 million people in Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services’ collaboration with L.A. Care will help L.A. Care members access health care and supportive services while having a place to live, which officials hope will reduce unnecessary emergency department visits, inpatient hospital stays and nursing home care.

A study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that the Housing for Health program reduced emergency room visits by 68% and inpatient stays by 77%, officials said. Patients also saw a 60% drop in costs compared to the year before they entered the program.

“L.A. Care is pleased to know that our resources will support a proven model,” said John Baackes, CEO of L.A. Care. “To date, we have helped secure housing for individuals in 329 households experiencing homeless through a previous $20 million commitment to Brilliant Corners, a housing agency working with Housing for Health, and we look forward to even more success stories with the new Housing for a Healthy California program.”

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