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The Board And Care Industry Houses Vulnerable Populations, But It’s At Risk. Why?




Board-and-care homes, which aim to house and feed adults struggling with dementia, alzheimers, and mental illness, have been disappearing.
Board-and-care homes, which aim to house and feed adults struggling with dementia, alzheimers, and mental illness, have been disappearing.
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Many Californians have struggled to find both housing and supportive care over the last few years. A lifeline to both has been steadily disappearing as a number of board-and-care homes are closing their doors. 

The homes, which rely on Social Security funding, work to house and feed adults struggling with mental illness. According to a recent L.A. Times piece by Doug Smith, a survey estimates nearly 40 L.A. County board-and-care facilities closed within the last three years, which eliminated about 949 beds, 16 percent of the county’s total supply. Some of the operators have been in business for decades, but it’s difficult to keep up with. As some look to retire, they’re finding it difficult to sell the business. They have little choice but to convert their facilities to market rate apartments. In addition, folks using the facilities as a last resort could be at serious risk of becoming homeless.

Today on AirTalk, we look at the implications of board-and-care homes, why the industry is struggling and what the closures could mean for the future. 

Guests:

Doug Smith, staff writer for the LA Times, his recent piece looks at the deterioration of the board-and-care industry; he tweets @LATDoug 

Jonathan Sherin, M.D., director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health; he tweets @directorLACDMH

Alana Riemermann, project manager at Shelter Partnership, a non-profit based in Downtown L.A. which works to develop housing and resources for the homeless 

Caroline Cicero, professor of gerontology and director of the Age Friendly University Initiative at USC