Supervisors Hahn and Kuehl Advocate to Protect and Expand “Board and Cares” in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles, CA—Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a plan presented by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl to protect and expand the county’s system of Adult Residential Facilities, commonly referred to as “Board and Cares,” that are home to vulnerable residents with serious mental illness. These facilities are closing across the county at an alarming rate at a time when they are needed to stem the homeless crisis.

“Not only do Board and Cares provide treatment to individuals with serious mental illness, they are long-term homes for residents who may very well be homeless otherwise,” said Supervisor Hahn. “We cannot afford to lose any more Board and Cares in the middle of this homelessness crisis. We have to focus on supporting these facilities and keeping the remaining ones open—with a long-term goal of opening more in the future.”

Adult Residential Facilities (ARFs) provide long-term housing combined with 24-hour assisted living services to individuals who are unable to live on their own due to serious mental illness or medical problems. Staff on site provide services ranging from medication assistance, to meals, to travel to and from clinical visits. These facilities are licensed and can range in size from six beds in a single family home, to larger facilities that house over 100 residents. Many of the residents in ARFs would be homeless otherwise.

“Adult residential facilities, also known as board and care facilities, are a critical part of The County’s efforts to serve people suffering from mental health issues,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “Board and care facilities help people who might otherwise be homeless or hospitalized because of mental illness maintain their health and dignity. This motion will help us be sure that we have enough of these important facilities as we advance our effort to serve our most vulnerable constituents.”

As of March 20, 2018, LA County had 1,132 Adult Residential Facilities with a bed capacity of 11,743. However, a recent report by the LA County Mental Health Commission found that ARFs are closing at an alarming rate as they become less financially feasible. The daily “rent” paid to a board and care operator is $35. With raising property values and increased staffing costs, ARFs have been unable to keep up.

The motion, which passed unanimously, directed the Health Agency to report back in 60 days with a plan to stabilize and grow our existing Adult Residential Facilities as well as explore other licensed and unlicensed housing environments that could be used to house individuals with serious mental illness. Health Agency leaders will also identify additional funding opportunities to support and increase the availability of ARFs.