Los Angeles, CA — Ahead of the release of Governor Newsom’s proposed 2020 budget, the Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously call for the investment of $500 million in state funding to preserve the State’s Board and Care network.
Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, commonly referred to as Board and Cares, are vital housing resources for many LA County residents with mental illnesses and other health needs. They provide these vulnerable individuals with a stable home, meals, and various other supportive services. Board and Care facilities have been closing at a rapid rate due to increasing costs and stagnant reimbursement rates from the State. At $35 a day, reimbursement rates are often not enough for operators to cover the actual costs of caring for residents. Since 2016, thirty-nine Board and Cares serving 949 individuals in LA County were forced to close their doors. Many more facilities are at risk of closing.
“We are in the middle of a crisis with our Board and Cares. These vital resources are often the only thing standing between their residents and homelessness and we need all hands on deck to keep them alive,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “The State has not been reimbursing Board and Cares for the actual cost of services they provide and now that many of these facilities are going underwater it is time for them to intervene to make sure our Board and Cares can continue to serve our most vulnerable residents.”
Today’s motion is part of an ongoing effort to address the closure of Board and Cares across the County. It means the Supervisors will send a joint letter to Governor Newsom requesting that he allocate $500 million in state funds in his upcoming budget recommendations to maintain the current Board and Care network and prevent further closures. The funding will also be used to ease regulations on Board and Care operators so potential patients can enter facilities more easily, as well as create a sustainable rate structure to support Board and Cares in the long-term.
“This week, an independent evaluation of the LA County’s Homeless Initiative came to the conclusion that Los Angeles County’s homelessness efforts were ‘effective and successful.’ In light of our progress, it is particularly important that we address the rapid loss of board and care facilities where some of our most vulnerable residents live,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “From 2016 to mid-2019, more than 1,000 board and care beds were lost, leaving clients at risk of becoming homeless. Today we are asking the state for urgently needed, one-time funding to prevent these men and women from falling into homelessness.”
Today’s motion coincides with Supervisor Hahn’s announcement that the County Department of Mental Health had identified $11.7 million in funds for immediate relief for local Board and Cares. This follows her November 12th motion with Supervisor Kuehl directing the Department to do so.
Of the $11.7 million, $11.2 million will be used to support the 182 Board and Care facilities that serve the highest number of low-income residents. The funds will help these facilities make necessary deferred maintenance improvements such as bathroom renovations, roof improvements, installing air conditioning units, replacing carpets, and more. The remaining $500,000 will be used to create a Board and Care membership organization whose members serve low-income clients, so that Board and Care operators have a space to collaborate on tactics to best serve their clients.
“With these funds we as a County are doing our part to prevent any more Board and Care closures that would worsen our ongoing homeless crisis,” said Supervisor Hahn. “Now we need the State to step up and do its part to get our Board and Care system back on its feet.”