In September 2011, Abt Associates began an evaluation of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s five-year Chronic Homelessness Strategic Initiative with the goal of answering the overarching question: Is the Chronic Homelessness Strategic Initiative an effective strategy to end and prevent chronic homelessness in Los Angeles (LA) County? Since that time, Abt Associates has released over one dozen reports and an interactive platform answering this question and highlighting lessons learned from specific efforts of the Foundation and its partners.
Now deep in the second five-year phase of the initiative, which launched in 2016, the Foundation’s actions are increasingly intertwined with those of the broader community. In view of such close collaboration, the evaluation critically examines countywide progress in ending chronic homelessness, as well as the Foundation’s direct and indirect contributions toward shared goals.
This year’s report and interactive platform on 2017 progress examines community efforts to promote systems change through leveraging political will, scaling up resources and developing a county-wide prioritization system, which is intended to identify, prioritize and place LA’s most vulnerable homeless clients in permanent supportive housing. Overall, it was found that LA made significant progress by way of increasing investments in housing and wrap-around support services, as well as in improving coordination and collaboration across various agencies, service providers and other partners. In January 2018, the first time in several years, the “Point-in-Time Count” showed a decrease in chronic homelessness.
Community-wide investments and collaborations may be starting to turn the tide of a sustained increase in the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness. The 2017 evaluation suggests this could be a tipping point if the community is able to align behind key strategies, implement functional and accountable systems, and sustain support for the city and county strategies.
Findings from this most recent report can be reviewed in three ways through the Foundation’s website.