Los Angeles County is aging. Most older adults or adults with disabilities live independently and thrive without any assistance however, some less able to take care of themselves fall victim to varying degrees of physical and emotional abuse. In 2019, more than 50,000 adult protective services (APS) referrals were made for suspected abuse or neglect in LA County alone.
Abuse takes many forms. Intimidation, threats, neglect, financial exploitation and healthcare fraud are the most common that some older adults face often through the hands of those they most rely on. With the dramatic demographic shift in the older adult population by 2030, the need for APS services is evident more than ever today.
With this shift and subsequent rise of older adult homelessness in LA County, we are now faced with a different predicament. What should be done if vulnerable adults who are in danger of (or are) being abused, neglected by self or others, financially exploited or are unable to protect themselves are at risk of losing their home and quality of life? How should society anticipate the risk of homelessness facing an already vulnerable subset of the aging population?
To assist our APS clientele that might be victims of homelessness as a result of abuse, the Los Angeles County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) administers the Home Safe Program to prevent older adults from falling deeper into a vulnerable situation. The program allows older adults to maintain their current housing or provides assistance to those who’ve already fallen to homelessness in finding stable housing and entering into emergency homeless shelter systems.
WDACS partners with Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) to provide services such as housing stabilization, search and placement, income stabilization, landlord mediation and advocacy, legal advocacy and reunification/relocation assistance. Additional financial assistance can be provided such as security deposits, rental assistance, utilities assistance, move-in expenses, moving expenses, essential furnishing expenses, or reunification/relocation expenses among other services.
Ensuring the well-being and safety of our vulnerable neighbors and promoting an age-friendly environment that guarantees the independence and the right to self-determination of older adults is a pillar of our mission at WDACS. To learn more about our older adult protective services, visit here. To report elder or dependent adult abuse, please call the 24-hour elder abuse reporting hotline at: 1-877-477-3646 (1-877-4-R-Seniors).