Cover: Examining Implementation of the Los Angeles County Office of Diversion and Reentry Supportive Housing Program

Examining Implementation of the Los Angeles County Office of Diversion and Reentry Supportive Housing Program

Published Sep 23, 2021

by Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Alex R. Dopp, Mallika Bhandarkar, Sarah B. Hunter

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Research Questions

  1. What does the program's implementation look like? In particular, how are participants identified and enrolled, what services are provided, and what resources are needed to operate the program?
  2. What are program facilitators and challenges, as expressed by program administrators and key service providers?
  3. What are the participants' perspectives on the program?

The Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR) in Los Angeles County operates jail-based clinical diversion programs designed to help individuals with serious mental health diagnoses. The largest of these programs is the ODR Housing Program, which has diverted more than 3,000 individuals since its inception in 2016.

Given the community's interest in providing alternatives to incarceration, eliminating racial disparities in incarcerated and jailed mental health populations, and addressing the overwhelming rates of homelessness in Los Angeles County, continuing to expand and refine this model will be important in supporting the county's "care first, jails last" vision.

The authors of this report describe the program's implementation, including how participants are identified and enrolled, what services are provided, and what resources are needed to operate the program; identify program facilitators and challenges, as expressed by program administrators and key service providers; and obtain participant perspectives on the ODR Housing Program.

The insights provided in this report should help program staff expand and refine efforts associated with the program. This research into how the ODR Housing Program operates might also serve as a roadmap for other jurisdictions looking to implement similar initiatives; provide context for interpreting past and future evaluations of the program's effectiveness; and, through an examination of provider and client viewpoints on the program, provide a perspective often missing from evaluations that focus primarily on outcomes.

Key Findings

  • ODR Housing serves clients with serious clinical needs, and the program model has evolved to maximize success in permanent supportive housing.
  • Although having wraparound services and strong communication among partner organizations is important to meeting clients' needs, coordinating these services across multiple stakeholders can prove challenging.
  • The limited availability of mental health and substance use treatment services through the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and the Department of Public Health Substance Abuse Prevention and Control has required the program to fill these gaps, but a lack of integrated services remains an issue.
  • Clients are largely satisfied with the program, and ongoing provider training will ensure the continued provision of high-quality services.

Recommendations

  • Increase staff training opportunities.
  • Expand equity considerations in program implementation and outcomes.
  • Explore process measures, including early attrition rates.
  • Monitor outcomes by client characteristics and program progress.

Research conducted by

This research was sponsored by the Rose Hills Foundation and conducted by the Community Health and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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