In fall of 2020, as Brilliant Corners was mobilizing in collaboration with the LA County Department of Health Services (DHS) to support people experiencing homelessness and those at greater risk of COVID-19, our longtime partners at L.A. Care saw a way that they could provide critical support. L.A. Care, an innovative health care provider with a deep understanding of the link between housing and improved health outcomes, provided a generous grant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by providing capacity building support and personal protective equipment (PPE) for Los Angeles County COVID Response Teams. As a result of L.A. Care’s generous funding, Brilliant Corners and the Department of Health Services (DHS) supported the community through rapid, preventative approaches to avoid and mitigate surges in COVID-19 cases, accomplishing the following:

Establish additional COVID Response Teams: DHS and Brilliant Corners created two additional COVID Response Teams (CRT) providing COVID testing to individuals at a high risk for COVID-19. With nine total COVID Response Teams, over 100,000 tests were administered for people experiencing homelessness and staff at various shelters and interim housing settings throughout Los Angeles County.

Provide Protective Equipment: The COVID-19 Response Teams were able to provide technical assistance and personal protective equipment (PPE) support to over 300 interim housing sites. The CRTs also provided technical assistance on how to properly use PPE and self-testing.

Improved greater overall self-sufficiency for shelters and interim housing sites serving PEH: Hundreds of sites were analyzed to ensure they were safer for residents and staff. 265 site-specific COVID Prevention Plans were generated based on clinical and programmatic assessments done at each site that reviewed risk level, facility layouts, and areas suitable or not suitable for physical distancing, followed by plans for policy implementation and other best practices recommendations. Ensuring that congregate care sites were safe mitigated the mass spread of COVID-19 in interim housing and congregate care settings.

Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, L.A. Care’s contribution was critical in protecting people experiencing homelessness and the staff who provide direct services to them. Through L.A. Care’s grant, Brilliant Corners and DHS were able to conduct lifesaving work throughout the pandemic and especially during the COVID-19 surge in November and December of 2020. This impact would not have been possible without L.A. Care. Brilliant Corners looks forward to continuing work in collaboration with DHS and L.A. Care to support people experiencing homelessness.