Cedars-Sinai announced last week that it has awarded grants totaling $1.2 million to 17 nonprofit programs and organizations on the Westside.
The grants will support programs that help people experiencing homelessness get stable housing, fund mental and behavioral health services, and build clinical and financial capacity at community clinics. Cedars-Sinai will also fund fitness and wellness initiatives and resources for first responders.
The medical institution will give another $13.8 million to 91 other organizations across Los Angeles County, more than double what it donated last year.
Cedars-Sinai said in a press release that the institution awarded the grants with the results of the 2019 Greater Homeless Count in mind. The count found a 12% increase in homelessness from last year, bringing the county’s homeless population to about 59,000. The count also showed that 600,000 people countywide spend more than 90% of their income on shelter.
“We’ve found that some of the most significant issues affecting the health of our community include housing and homelessness, mental health and access to care,” said Joanne Laguna-Kennedy, vice president of Hospital Operations and chief nursing officer at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital. “We’re committed to breaking down these barriers and improving the health and wellness of our community members.”
In Santa Monica, where the homeless population increased 3% last year, the grant recipients include the city of Santa Monica, substance abuse treatment center CLARE|MATRIX and job placement nonprofit Chrysalis.
CLARE|MATRIX is receiving $75,000 to develop a training curriculum for its staff and other community leaders and Chrysalis has been awarded $25,000 to enhance its IT infrastructure.
“CLARE|MATRIX is proud to be the recipient of another meaningful and powerful gift from Cedars-Sinai for the purpose of supporting the growth of our training department,” said chief development officer Denise Nelson. “Combined with last year’s investment that created our state of the art training facilities, this new gift will help propel our abilities to reach underserved populations through outreach and the refinement of our renowned Matrix Model trainings.”
The city of Santa Monica accepted $100,000 for a feasibility study on replacing its homeless shelter, Samoshel, which was built as a temporary tent-like structure 25 years ago. The new homeless center would include interim and permanent housing facilities and an urgent care center for individuals in behavioral health crisis. The County of Los Angeles is also awarding the city $300,000 for the study, which will be conducted by a consultant.
“Multi-use homeless services sites are complex development deals that require technical knowledge, a transparent community engagement process and a multi-layered capital and operating funding plan,” Alisa Orduña, the city’s senior advisor on homelessness, wrote in a report to the city council. “Given the pipeline of existing city priorities and in-depth technical expertise required for a thorough feasibility analysis, staff recommends the hiring of a consultant to conduct this study.”
In Venice, St. Joseph Center is receiving $25,000 for its Homeless Service Center program and Safe Place for Youth is getting $25,000 to support its health and wellness clinic and transport participants to healthcare appointments.
Venice Family Clinic is accepting three grants worth a combined $155,000.
The clinic will use $100,000 to recruit and retain a talented and engaged workforce, said director of communications Michelle Stuffmann. The grant will fund professional development and technology upgrades the clinic’s staff need to do their jobs, she said.
$25,000 will help pay the clinic’s care coordinator, who connects people experiencing homelessness at the clinic or on the streets with resources. $30,000 will go toward a coalition of Westside healthcare and social services providers formed in 2014 that is building a system of care for people experiencing homelessness, Stuffmann said.
“The idea here is that they have excellent primary care and social support they need to build and maintain their health,” she said. “Cedars-Sinai is a longstanding partner to Venice Family Clinic and an important part of how the clinic is able to deliver quality primary care to people in need.”