Culver City Edition Health Lead Story Local News West Edition

Cedars-Sinai to increase support to safety-net groups

LOS ANGELES — Cedars-Sinai has announced that it is deepening its commitment to the health and well-being of underserved populations in Los Angeles County by significantly increasing its financial support for safety-net organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness and others who are vulnerable.

The institution is contributing $15 million to 108 nonprofit programs, including Planned Parenthood, and organizations that foster housing stability, provide sustainable programs for homeless residents and build clinical and financial capacity at community clinics, Cedars-Sinai said in a news release issued July 15. 

The grants also will support mental health training, services for LGBT and veterans’ groups, as well as a range of social services provided by several Jewish organizations.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles is receiving more than $1 million to develop a self-sustaining behavioral health program for its local community, which significantly lacks access to care. Other behavioral health grantees include Beit T’Shuvah, Korean American Family Services, The Maple Counseling Center, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services and Para Los Niños.

Charles Drew University Medical School is receiving a grant of nearly $1.4 million to help develop a medical education program and a community health worker training program focused on serving people in vulnerable communities.

Other workforce grantees include the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers and the Los Angeles Urban League.

Cedars-Sinai contributed $5.9 million last year to safety-net organizations in the Los Angeles region. The effort to address homelessness and housing stability comes at a critical time for the region. The 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found a 12% increase in homelessness across the county compared to a year ago, pushing the numbers of homeless residents in the area to nearly 59,000. The count also showed that 600,000 people countywide face critical housing stability issues because they spend more than 90% of their income on shelter.

“We take our role in the community as seriously as we take patient care, research and education,” said Cedars-Sinai President and CEO Thomas M. Priselac. “We are driven by a strategic focus on improving access to care and addressing social determinants of health. Ultimately, we are working to break down barriers that affect tens of thousands of people within the safety net.”

More than 20 of the Cedars-Sinai grants are going to organizations that work directly with people experiencing homelessness or strive to improve housing stability. In total, Cedars-Sinai is contributing $2.5 million to these dual priorities. Among the recipients are:

• The city of Santa Monica, which is receiving $100,000 for a feasibility study about comprehensive health care for homeless residents in the seaside city.

• Home for Good, a public-private partnership that invests in solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County, will receive $100,000 to support its work.

• The Los Angeles LGBT Center will have $160,000 to develop vocational training for youth who are transitioning out of homelessness.

• The People Concern is receiving $100,000 to expand a “navigator” program that connects homeless patients at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital with community resources and services. The Los Angeles nonprofit received a $100,000 Cedars-Sinai grant last year to launch the program.

• St. Joseph Center is receiving $100,000 to train first responders in Culver City to meet the needs of the city’s homeless population and to teach members of the business community how to connect those who are homeless to social services.

Cedars-Sinai also is distributing several major grants to assist community clinics to reduce disparities in health and health care. More than 1.6 million Angelenos receive their health care from community clinics, making these organizations the backbone of the region’s safety net.

The Cedars-Sinai Community Clinic Initiative is contributing $1.5 million over two years to help 17 Los Angeles County community clinics build greater capacity to address food insecurity and transportation issues for those who need the support. The contribution is among more than $10 million Cedars-Sinai has devoted to community clinics over the last four years.

Planned Parenthood also is receiving $500,000 over three years to help develop well-being centers on school campuses across the county. Other community clinic grantees include Saban Community Clinic, APLA Health, Eisner Health, Venice Family Clinic and Korean Health Education Information and Research Clinic.

Behavioral health is another priority area. Cedars-Sinai is providing funds for training and partnerships with clinics and social service agencies.

Several grants also are going to institutions and programs in alignment with Cedars-Sinai’s Judaic values of welcoming and treating all people with dignity and respect. Grants are going to Jewish Family Services, Sharsheret and Bet Tzedek to serve a range of social, education, homeless and legal needs.  

The Jewish Free Loan Association will receive $500,000 over five years to establish the Cedars-Sinai Housing Stability Loan Fund, designed to provide immediate housing assistance to stabilize those on the verge of homelessness.

Cedars-Sinai also is making significant investments in workforce development to train health care workers in the community, the statement said.

From City News Service