The Community Centered Emergency Room Project (CCERP) was funded by the LA County Department of Public Health Substance Abuse Prevention and Control (DPH-SAPC) and awarded to Social Model Recovery Systems Inc. (SMRS). This community prevention “grassroots” project targeted the Needs Special Assistance (NSA) population in the area surrounding LA County + USC Medical Center (LAC+USC MC) to reduce overuse of the emergency room and increase positive health results for homeless residents. The goals of the project were to provide targeted outreach to homeless residents by establishing linkages and enhanced community engagement to reduce risk factors and increase positive health.
As their research partner, ICSS/PARC helped conduct a six-month community assessment process in the target area that included: 1) a needs assessment survey and focus groups with members of the NSA population, hospital staff, enforcement officers, and community residents with permanent homes, 2) analysis of survey data (Vulnerability Index with homeless population) collected by Exodus Recovery, Inc., 3) street and park environmental scans, and 4) analysis of LAPD crime data. The data was used to both uplift the community voice and obtain a deeper understanding of the cultural, social, psychological, and medical needs of the homeless; their use of LAC + USC MC; and the impact of the built environment on safety and crime. Key findings from the CCERP needs assessment were three-fold: 1) housed residents care about the homeless, expressing a need to identify resources to address their needs; 2) the need to improve access to culturally appropriate resources for NSA populations; and 3) the built environment is fundamentally linked to the health and safety of all residents housed and unhoused.
SMRS and PARC presented a report of the findings and community defined solutions at a Town Hall meeting, that included representatives from local nonprofits, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH), Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), the City of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, and Union Pacific Railroad (UPR). Also present were local elected officials, mental health professionals, and residents of Boyle Heights. The Town Hall meeting provided a starting point for developing a coalition of allies to advocate for, and sustain implementation of NSA initiatives.