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Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) is pleased to announce the Wednesday, May 22 panel conversation Housing is Healthcare (Part 2) from 6:30-8pm at the Skid Row History Museum & Archive, 250 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 90012.

In light of the new ABT Global study about Project Room Key highlighted in this week’s Los Angeles Times and Cal Matters, we are acutely aware of how much our upcoming Housing is Healthcare (Part 2) panel discussion will contribute to the conversation about the extreme efficacy of non-congregate interim shelter sites for helping to place people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.

Our dynamic participants include two LA County’s Quarantine and Isolation (QI) site staff members, Tina Juarez, mental health clinician (Department of Mental Health) and Bianca Martinez, social worker (First to Serve). Joining them in conversation is Molly Rysman from Housing for Health (LA County Department of Health Services). Molly is a seasoned policy player here in Los Angeles and a principle in both envisioning and realizing the critical new Skid Row Action Plan. Moderated by Clancey Cornell, a clinical social worker and member of LAPD’s archive staff whose interviews are featured in the exhibit.

The lessons learned here in Los Angeles County during COVID have not been lost and are being integrated into new initiatives. The focus of this conversation will be to articulate best practices as implemented by the COVID Hotels, explore how they are stimulating new initiatives and to imagine how medical triage and respite sites, building on the Quarantine and Isolation Site model can be realized throughout the county.

The conversation, Housing is Healthcare (Part 2) is intended to highlight the experiences of frontline workers involved with LA County’s Quarantine and Isolation (QI) sites during the COVID-19 pandemic and to explore how best practices of the QI sites can and are being implemented to provide needed healthcare to houseless people and how the provision of healthcare is an opportunity to get people housed. The QI model brought medical professionals, mental health professionals and social workers together to save lives, provide needed treatment for untreated conditions beyond Covid, and to find post-quarantine housing placement for patients. 

This panel conversation is part of the project and exhibition Welcome to the COVID Hotel.

Los Angeles Poverty Department’s (LAPD) exhibition, Welcome to the Covid Hotel reveals the exceptional innovations and successes of a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who ran LA County Health Department’s emergency Quarantine and Isolation (QI) sites for houseless Covid patients and people exposed to the virus in shelters. More than 10,000 people quarantined at the sites. There were very few deaths, and once released, 93% of the patients needing housing were sheltered in nursing homes, recovery programs, and transitional programs leading to permanent housing—a remarkable rate. 

“This exhibition focuses on the secret sauce—the spirit of the QI workers—their commitment, passion, and courage. Their ability to improvise when so many certainties crumbled. The things they discovered and employed everyday were broad departures from business-as-usual convention. The successes they saw led to a belief that the model of care they discovered and provided can be scaled up to address the twin problems of housing and healthcare. But to do that, more impassioned and dedicated people are needed,” said John Malpede, LAPD Artistic Director/Executive Director. 

From March 9 – December 14, Thursdays through Saturdays, 2-5 pm, the exhibition is open to the public. LAPD performances and additional discussions are soon to be announced. Project research materials and documentation will be preserved and made available in the museum’s archive. For information, contact [email protected].