Ending chronic homelessness

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation works to make permanent supportive housing a reality for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. Over the past twenty-five years, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has sought to advance compassionate and cost-effective solutions to homelessness, awarding more than $140 million in grants—primarily by advancing the permanent supportive housing model since 1990. The video below highlights the Foundation’s history in ending chronic homelessness in Los Angeles.

On any given night in Los Angeles, there are more than 13,000 chronically homeless persons, many of whom have been homeless for years and have severe disabilities, such as mental illness, substance use disorders, and chronic health problems. These are among the most vulnerable, and costly, people in our society, requiring a disproportionate amount of public health and public safety services. A wide body of research shows that permanent supportive housing is the best, most cost-effective solution to chronic homelessness.

A graph showing $605 monthly cost reduction in supportive housing in Los Angeles
Economic Roundtable, 2009


In partnership with the public, philanthropic, nonprofit, and private sector stakeholders at work on this urgent issue, the Hilton Foundation aims to eliminate chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. Together, we will do this in three ways: creating and operating permanent supportive housing, ensuring that the most vulnerable are housed in these units and can stay there as needed, and preventing more people from becoming chronically homeless.

Phase I (January 2011 – December 2015)

In 2010, the Foundation launched a five-year strategic initiative focusing on ending chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. Since our strategy’s January 2011 start date, our board of directors has approved more than $57 million in grant funding to increase access and prioritization to permanent supportive housing for the most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. Through these funding commitments we successfully catalyzed collaboration and have seen unprecedented levels of innovation and partnership between key foundation, city, and county leaders.

In September 2011, the Foundation contracted with Abt Associates to conduct an evaluation with the goal of answering the overarching question: Is the Chronic Homelessness Initiative an effective strategy to end and prevent chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County? Annual evaluations as well as interim reports are available in the Learning section of our website. The most recent annual report was released in December 2015.

Phase II (January 2016 – December 2020)

At the close of 2015, our board approved the second phase of our strategy—an additional five-year commitment to begin in January 2016. Phase II aims to build upon the successes of Phase I by doubling down on the successful systems change work that has made Los Angeles County’s efforts a model for the nation. Through Phase II, we will work to ensure that these changes continue to support well-functioning, sustainable systems that are empowered with resource commitments at a scale large enough to prevent and end chronic homelessness within Los Angeles County. A summary of the three-pronged approach is below or you can check out the full strategy paper here.

1. Facilitate systems change. The Foundation will continue to tap into opportunities to drive funders, providers, and public leaders to invest resources and improve efficiencies in both housing and service provision. We will also build upon previous investments by unlocking new funding opportunities, supporting city and county plans, and transitioning new systems to more sustainable, long-term infrastructures.

2. Support “upstream” programs and pilots. We will look “upstream” to better understand how people become chronically homeless and examine emerging consensus on prevention strategies. We will also build capacity to meet the growing need for supportive housing units by supporting developers and providers in the creation of new units and securing existing market rate housing.

3. Develop and disseminate knowledge. We will continue to learn, refine, and innovate by supporting research, evaluation, and data systems. Beyond Los Angeles, we will continue to share insights and knowledge that promote continuous learning about effective practices to prevent and end chronic homelessness.

Homelessness Initiative Highlights

Noted below are highlights of some of the Foundation’s innovative and collaborative efforts to identify our most vulnerable.

Street Outreach

Through Los Angeles’ Coordinated entry system (CES) agencies utilize a uniform street outreach tool that helps assess the needs of homeless individuals and helps service providers allocate resources in a logical, targeted way. CES is now operating on-the-ground in all areas of LA County and teams in each region now meet regularly, working together to ensure full geographic coverage by coordinating outreach expansion, effective housing navigation, and efficient and accurate matches to housing and non-housing resources based on the individual needs and acuity level.

Home For Good Funders Collaborative

The Home For Good Funders Collaborative, led by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, played a key role in supporting the first years of CES implementation. Seeded by a $1 million challenge grant from the Foundation to the United Way in 2011, The Funders Collaborative has been the largest and most comprehensive effort to coordinate and align private funding with public sector dollars to more effectively support services and solutions needed to reduce and end homelessness.

Led by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Home for Good Funders Collaborative is a partnership with over 20 other public and private funders aligning investment in long-term solutions to end chronic and Veteran homelessness through a shared annual RFP.

Home For Good and The Funders Collaborative

Learn more about these partnerships

Check out the fact sheet here

Local Housing Subsidies

Individuals experiencing homelessness are often among the highest utilizers of expensive health care services. The Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool (FHSP) provides a rental housing subsidy that is paired with support services for LA County’s most vulnerable homeless populations. Launched in 2014 by the LA County Department of Health Services (DHS), the FHSP is financed through a combination of public and private funding.

Learn more about the FHSP program and how it operates.

Read about lessons learned from the FHSP program.

Find the outcomes of RAND Corporation’s evaluation of the FHSP.

Criminal Justice System

Launched by Los Angeles County, Just in Reach (JIR) is a health-based housing program that aims to reduce jail recidivism and make significant progress in permanently ending chronic homelessness among people experiencing repeat jail stays. This innovative public-private partnership is the first to be funded in Los Angeles County through a Pay for Success (PFS) financial model—tying payment for social services delivery to the achievement of agreed upon success measures.

Pay for Success and Just In Reach

Read about the unique funding structure, program design and success measures

Check out the fact sheet here

Breaking Barriers provides short-term rental subsidies and supportive services to homeless adults with felony offenses on probation in LA County to reduce recidivism to jail and prison and increase housing retention.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Development

The number of PSH units being developed across Los Angeles is not nearly enough to meet the need. For more than 10 years, the Hilton Foundation has provided Program Related Investment loans to the national Community Development Financial Institution, CSH, to support and expedite the construction of PSH.

With the successful passage of Proposition HHH providing essential new resources to support increased creation of PSH, opportunities for new development increase greatly. To ensure the success of the development of new PSH, the Hilton Foundation partnered with three other foundations to invest significant resources to support the construction of PSH that will move thousands of Angelenos experiencing chronic homelessness into stable and safe homes.

Read a report on the Foundation’s history of Program Related Investment (PRI) lending with CSH and how it has contributed to the creation and growth of a robust pipeline of PSH.

Accelerating the production of PSH in the City of Los Angeles

Learn how our Foundation is part of a working group

Check out the fact sheet here

Transition Age Youth

Developed by Dr. Eric Rice at the University of Southern California School of Social Work, the transition age youth (TAY) triage tool assesses homeless transition age youth ages 18-24 to determine risk for long-term homelessness. Those at highest risk can be connected with supportive housing, preventing youth from becoming chronically homeless.