The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl Tuesday to address the Board and Care crisis throughout the county.
Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, commonly referred to as “Board and Cares,” are vital housing resources for many county residents with mental illnesses and other health needs. Board and Care facilities provide these individuals with a stable home, meals and various other supportive services.
These facilities have been closing at a rapid rate due to increasing costs and stagnant reimbursement rates from the state. Reimbursement rates are currently just $35 per day and are often not enough for operators to cover the actual costs of caring for residents. Since 2016, 39 Board and Cares serving 949 individuals were forced to close their doors, leaving their vulnerable residents scrambling to avoid homelessness. Many more facilities are at risk of closing.
“These board and care facilities are often the only thing standing between their residents and homelessness,” Hahn said in a statement Tuesday. “The state needs to start reimbursing these facilities for the actual cost of the care they provide. But until that happens, the county is going to step up and give these facilities the support they need to keep their doors open so they can continue to be homes for our most vulnerable residents.”
“Given the roaring real estate market and low reimbursement rates, LA County board and care facilities have been closing at an alarming rate,” said Kuehl, who co-authored the motion. “These businesses provide a vital service providing some of our most fragile residents with the care they need and a roof over their heads. Without board and care beds, many of these men and women could face incarceration, institutionalization or homelessness. Today’s motion lays out the first steps for reversing this trend and ensuring that we have an adequate supply of beds for those who need them.”
The motion is the culmination of a two-year-long stakeholder engagement process that brought together Board and Care owners and clients to discuss their needs. It directs the Department of Mental Health, Department of Health Services, and the Chief Executive Office to identify funding for both operations and capital improvements to preserve and expand existing Board and Care facilities.
This will also include developing a strategy to expand the number of people benefitting from the County’s Housing for Health and Department of Mental Health enhanced rate programs.
Additionally, the County will seek opportunities to advocate at the state level for improved Board and Care funding that will allow these facilities to continue operating under rising costs as well as engaging philanthropy to increase financial support of these facilities serving low-income individuals.