How to Improve the Health of Older Homeless Women

Half of the homeless women living in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row are over the age of 51.

Study after study also shows that homelessness takes a serious toll on a person’s health. Older homeless adults disproportionately use emergency rooms due to complex health problems and a lack of housing, and they have a life expectancy in the low 60s.

That’s why DWC spearheaded the Health Home Connect Project.

It links the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) housing system, to identify vulnerable women and enroll them in Medi-Cal.

How does DWC’s project work?

  1. A woman applies for permanent supportive housing through the Coordinated Entry System (CES).
  2. CES identifies the women who meet the criteria of being over the age of 55, chronically homeless, and attending services at DWC.
  3. Each woman is then connected to DWC’s Benefits Specialist for:
    • Enrollment in Medi-Cal
    • Assistance finding/obtaining a Medical Home or Primary Health Physician
    • Education on her new benefits
    • Patient navigation support
    • Advocacy for healthcare
    • Follow-Up services

The initiative has demonstrated successful results in its first year.


The Health Home Connect Project has shown that coordination of CES and the ACA streamlines access to healthcare as well as housing, reducing costs, and saving the most vulnerable in our country unnecessary hardship.


Questions about the Health Home Connect Project? Contact our Chief Program Officer Amy Turk here.

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