California is taking major steps to provide housing for sick homeless people. Using Los Angeles County health-care money, officials have already placed about 100 homeless people in the Star Apartments building, which has a medical clinic in house. Residents meet regularly with case managers and medical professionals, and can also participate in health classes, social activities and support groups.
Now, in light of a 12-percent rise in the area's homeless population, California wants permission to use Medicaid money to expand the project.
Studies show that the length of hospital stay and health-care costs for ill homeless people drop dramatically when they are offered housing; in one study, medical costs fell 72 percent for homeless people who were taken off the streets.
"Getting away from the chaos and temptations of the streets and settling in an apartment enables people to begin recovering from whatever led them to become homeless at the start," Marc Trotz, director of the Los Angeles County Housing for Health program, told Kaiser Health News.
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