It was the men's first meeting, a time to establish the basics: the man had been homeless on Skid Row for about three years, yes, he was getting out in a couple weeks, and no, he had nowhere to go. And that's what made him a candidate for the Office of Diversion and Reentry's housing program.
If follow-up visits yield what they're designed to, the man will move into temporary housing when he gets out of jail, and then on to a permanent apartment, where his rent will be subsidized by L.A. County, and he'll be visited by a case manager and mental health worker. The big idea is to get him into housing and out of the pipeline that runs between Skid Row and L.A.'s jails.
Pay for success is a new concept to L.A. County, but has been used elsewhere to encourage government agencies to innovate by outsourcing some of the financial risk of trying something new to the private sector. In this instance, a group of private investors, including United Healthcare and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, has given ODR funds to scale the program to 300 new clients--and if successful, the county pays the investors back.
To read more of Rina Palta's article, please click here.