The Santa Monica-based CLARE Foundation has received a $975,000 grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) to fund the implementation of a program assisting chronically homeless individuals.

CLARE, a nonprofit organization providing treatment and recovery services for alcoholism and substance abuse, was awarded one of 20 Cooperative Agreements to Benefit Homeless Individuals grants to reduce barriers to housing for the chronically homeless who struggle with mental and substance use disorders.

The funding will be used to support CLARE’s three-year Bridges to Housing project, which aims to create a system of care and support that will move chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing, support their continued stability, and help them to maintain their housing.

For this project, CLARE is partnering with other agencies serving this population on the Westside including, Edelman Mental Health Center, New Directions, St. Joseph Center in Venice, Step Up on Second in Santa Monica, the Venice Community Housing Corporation, and Venice Family Clinic. Implementation of the program began Sept. 30.

Using the “housing first” model, Bridges to Housing aims to place 90 chronically homeless individuals struggling with mental illness and/or substance use into permanent supportive housing over the course of three years, according to CLARE. In addition, the program will provide the participants with the comprehensive services necessary to maintain their stability in permanent housing.

Officials also hope the initiative will support the individuals in maintaining recovery from mental health and substance use disorders, establishing a medical home, and managing chronic diseases.

“The Bridges to Housing program is a huge step forward in our attempts to create a ‘no-wrong-door’ approach to providing housing, health care, and social services on the Westside of Los Angeles,” said Nicholas Vrataric, executive director of the CLARE Foundation.

“By working with our partner agencies, we hope to improve the outlook for the chronically homeless individuals in Los Angeles who have traditionally had the most difficulty accessing these services, despite their undeniable need.”

Throughout the course of the project, CLARE and its partners will work with UCLA’s department of Integrated Substance Abuse Programs to evaluate the success of the Bridges to Housing program.

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