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A homeless shelter program for the elderly in Los Angeles, California: A grant-writing project Cherise B. Arzaga CSU Long Beach May 2012. •Older adults age 62 and older are the fastest growing, most vulnerable group of homeless individuals in the City of Los Angeles (Shelter Partnership, 2008).

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A homeless shelter program for the elderly in Los Angeles, California: A grant-writing projectCherise B. ArzagaCSU Long BeachMay 2012


•Older adults age 62 and older are the fastest growing, most vulnerable group of homeless individuals in the City of Los Angeles (Shelter Partnership, 2008).

•Majority of the homeless assistance programs are geared towards special populations of interests (women with children, runaway youth, individuals with disabilities, and veterans) but have not yet acknowledged the elderly (Gonyea, Mills-Dick, & Bachman, 2010).

•Majority of older adults rely on emergency shelters for housing and supportive services, but its structure causes many barriers for older adults, as it is not equipped to meet their service needs (Gonyea et al., 2010).

•Older adults have critical health care needs that require a holistic approach in screening, evaluation, and treatment (Gelberg, Linn, & Mayer-Oakes, 1990; Cohen, 1999; Bottomley, 2001; Crane & Warnes, 2001; Garibaldi, Conde-Martel, & O’Toole, 2005; Lipmann, 2007; McDonald, Dergal, & Cleghorn, 2007; Rosenheck, Bassuk, & Saloman, 2008; Crane, 2010).

•Resources are limited and the services available to homeless older adults fail to acknowledge their complex needs, which makes them less inclined to seek help, and causes no end to elder homelessness (Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), 2003).

•The purpose of this project is to fund a homeless shelter program designed for the elderly in order to increase access to supportive services and improve existing services to meet their basic needs.

social work relevance
Social Work Relevance

•Decreases in funding for older adult programs pose a threat to this population’s resources.

•The projected increase of the older adult population in the coming years will make it difficult to ignore the needs of this population, suggesting a paradigm shift in how we care for them (Sermons & Henry, 2010).

•Homeless older adults are generally dependent on competent social workers, placing great responsibility to protect and provide a positive quality of life for the elder.

•Social workers must be aware of homeless older adult’s complex needs and know how to properly screen, assess, evaluate, and treat seniors.

•Social workers have a duty for policy change in order to ensure that health care and social services remain functional for the elderly.

cross cultural relevance
Cross-Cultural Relevance

•Individuals aged 55-61 accounted for 14.1% of the homeless population but increased to 23% in 2011.

•Individuals 62 and older accounted for 6% of the homeless population but increased to 10.8% in 2011.

•Limited research has been conducted on ethnic and/or racial compositions of the elderly in the City of Los Angeles (Shelter Partnership, 2008; Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, January 2011).

•According to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority’s (2011) Homeless Count, the largest groups experiencing homelessness are as follows:

•African American/Black Populations (43.7%)

•Hispanic/Latino Populations (27.7%)

•European American Populations (24.9%)

•Asian/Pacific Islander Populations (2.3%)

•American Indian/Alaskan Native Populations (1.4%)

•Nonetheless, it is clear that social workers need to utilize cultural sensitive practices when working with diverse older adult populations.

  • Target population
  • •Homeless older adults aged 55 and older residing in the City of Los Angeles.
  • b. Strategies used to identify and select a funding source
  • •Consultation with Marsha Scott, Program Director at New Image Emergency Shelter.
  • •Internet search engines utilizing the following key terms, “grants,” “homeless,” “elderly,” “homeless elderly,” and “shelter programs” to identify funding sources.
  • Identify the funding source selected
  • •Archstone Foundation’s Responsive Grant-making, which directs resources to emerging and unmet needs in the field of aging (Archstone, 2012).
  • d. Sources used for the needs assessment
  • •Government websites, non-profit organizations with a special interest in the elderly and/or homeless populations, scholarly journals, and interviews.

e. Projected budget range and categories


Line item budget

Salaries and Benefits

Program Coordinator, LCSW (FT) $58,416

Benefits and Taxes (30%) $17,525

Two Social Workers, MSW, Bilingual (FT) $80,000

Benefits and Taxes (30%) $24,000

Student Interns, BSW & MSW $0

Psychiatric Nurse, RN (FT) $50,000

Benefits and Taxes (30%) $15,000

Student Interns, LVN & RN $0

Two Mental Health Workers, CNA (PT) $40,000

Benefits and Taxes (10%) $4,000

Housing Coordinator, BSW (FT) $34,000

Benefits and Taxes (30%) $10,200

Total Salaries and Benefits $333,141

Line item budget (continued)

Office supplies $1,000

Equipment $2500

Transportation $850

Gas $500

Bungalow Offices/Rent $1,250

Total Direct Program Costs $24,100

In-Kind Contributions

Mental health treatment $2,500

Medical treatment $2,500

Social Enrichment Activities $1,500

Utilities $800

24-hour security $25,000

Total In-Kind Contributions $32,300

Total Program Costs $389,541

Overhead Costs (8% of total program cost) $31,163

Total Program Budget $420,704

Total Requested From Funder $400,000

Direct Program Costs

Program Supplies

Food $5,000

Beds $4,000

Toiletries $2,000

Clothing $2,000

Health Care Visits $5,000

grant proposal

Program Summary and Description

  • •The senior shelter program will provide seniors with their basic needs (meals, shelter, clothing, transportation, physical and mental health care, housing, and participation in educational workshops and activities) through its day program.
  • •Older adults will be given priority for housing and will go through triage:
  • •Physical and mental health screening
  • •Benefits coordinator and linkage with community resources
  • •Transportation needs
  • •Mental health treatment plan
  • •Personal enrichment activities
  • •Services will be provided by a multi-disciplinary team of gerontological social workers, mental heath care providers, general medical services providers, and housing case management personnel.
  • Population Served
  • •Homeless older adults aged 55 and older living in the City of Los Angeles.
  • Sustainability
  • •Collaboration with New Image Emergency Shelter to implement senior shelter program on site to continue outreach and access to supportive services.
  • •Collaboration with partnered agencies to ensure effective case management (e.g., food, beds, clothing, housing authority, physical and mental health care providers, substance abuse providers, probation, legal advocacy, transportation, and other organizations serving senior populations).
  • •Collaboration with partnered Schools of Social Work and Nursing Schools to secure interns to provide direct services.
Grant Proposal
grant proposal1

Program Objectives

  • •The homeless elderly will have increased access to services to meet their basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, transportation, benefits, and physical/mental health care).
  • •Participation in housing case management will decrease homelessness and provide safe, stable housing for the homeless elderly.
  • •The homeless elderly will have increased knowledge of life skills (e.g., health promotion, medication management, coping skills, and financial management) and improved socialization skills.
  • Program Evaluation
  • •Intake data will track demographic information, need for services, and types of services.
  • •Individualized treatment plans will review met and unmet goals of participants and document the transition rates into stable housing.
  • •Interviews with participants will assist in determining the level of satisfaction with program
  • and identify gaps in services.
  • •Documentation of all expenditures.
  • •Semi-annual reports will be created with the aforementioned collection methods to evaluate the program’s effectiveness in improving outreach and access to services for the homeless elderly.
Grant Proposal
implications for social work
Implications for Social Work

•Regardless of the length of homelessness, the elderly have many vulnerabilities that make it even more challenging for them to utilize homeless services (Gelberg et al., 1990; Bottomley, 2001; Crane & Warnes, 2001; Dietz & Wright, 2005; Garibaldi et al., 2005; Van Wormer, 2005; Rosenheck et al., 2008; Crane, 2010).

•Older adults require a stable housing environment in order to access basic services.

•Intensive case management is an integral part of achieving needed health care and behavioral services and serves as the starting point for older adults to receive treatment and ultimately achieve permanent supportive housing (HRSA, 2003).

•A shelter program for the elderly can eliminate some of the barriers in accessing services and provide older adults with opportunities to achieve optimum health and housing stability.

•The proportion of elderly Americans will soon comprise 89 million by 2050, doubling the current elderly population, causing serious implications for not only homeless service providers but also all older adult service providers (He, Sengupta, Velkoff, & DeBarros, 2005).

•Identification of this population’s needs can assist policy makers to initiate local and federal social programs to aid in alleviating these challenges and thus reduce poverty and homelessness among the elderly.


Archstone Foundation. (2012). Foundation history and mission. Retrieved on February 13, 2012 from info-url_nocat2288/info-url_nocat_show.htm?doc_id=237956

Bottomley, J. (2001). Healthcare and homeless older adults. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 17(1),1-21.

Crane, M. (2010). Homelessness among older people and service responses. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology,20(4), 354-363.

Crane, M., Warnes, A. (2001). Primary health care services for single people: Defects and opportunities. Family Practice–An International Journal, 18(3),272-276.

Dietz, T., Wright, J. (2005). Victimization of the elderly homeless. Case Management Journals, 6(1), 15-21.

Garibaldi, B., Conde-Martel, A., & O’Toole, T. P. (2005). Self-reported comorbidities, perceived needs, and sources for usual care for older and younger homeless adults. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 20, 726-730.

Gelberg, L., Linn, LS, Mayer-Oakes, SA. (1990). Differences in health status between older and younger homeless adults. Journal of American Geriatric Society, 38, 1220-1229.

Gonyea, J., Mills-Dick, K., Bachman, S. (2010). The complexities of elder homelessness, a shifting political landscape and emerging community responses. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 53(7), 575-590.

He, W., Sengupta, M., Velkoff, V., and DeBarros, K. (2005). 65+ in the United States: 2005. Retrieved from

Lipmann, D. (2007). Elderly homeless men and women: Aged care’s forgotten problem. Australian Social Work, 62(2), 272-286.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. (January 2011). 2011 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count Report. Retrieved from

McDonald, L., Dergal, J., Cleghorn, L. (2007). Living on the margins. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 49(1,) 19-46.

Rosenheck, R., Bassuk, E., & Salomon, A. (2008). Elderly Homeless. Special populations of homeless Americans. Retrieved from

Sermons, W., Henry, M. (April 2010). Demographics of homelessness series: The rising elderly population. Retrieved from http://

Shelter Partnership, Inc. (March 2008). Homeless older adults strategic plan: March 2008 Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2003). Understanding the special health care needs of elderly person who are homeless. Retrieved from

Van Wormer, R. (2005). Homelessness among older adults with severe mental illness. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 10(4), 39-49.