L.A. Care commits nearly $1 million to the United Way of Greater L.A. to help frontline workers and homeless during pandemic

L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, announced [Tuesday] that it has awarded the United Way of Greater Los Angeles two grants worth $975,000 to support workers on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as those experiencing homelessness.

One grant commits $475,000 to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for up to 5,000 frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way will also use the funding to procure and distribute food, tents, sleeping bags, or other shelter in place equipment to as many as 10,000 individuals who are living on the streets during this pandemic. They will also provide essential supplies such as masks, health kits, and hygiene kits.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened an already tragic situation. Stay at home orders don’t mean much for people living on the streets,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “Survival strategies they often use are no longer available with places like libraries closed, and other resources strained due to COVID-19 job losses.”

There are efforts to get the highest risk individuals into hotel rooms, but everyone on the streets is at risk.


Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.


The second grant commits $500,000 to the United Way’s Health Pathways Expansion (HPE) Program. The program provides one-time grants to health providers who are expanding health services for people experiencing homelessness across L.A. County. The funding will help providers expand full-spectrum healthcare delivered onsite in interim housing during the pandemic, and will help healthcare providers identify and enroll and least 350 of these individuals into Medi-Cal or other appropriate coverage. L.A. Care’s contribution will also provide up to 900 visits to 720 people experiencing homelessness across L.A. County.

“Our vulnerable neighbors have been hit hardest by COVID-19. Access to quality medical care was hard to get in the best of times for people experiencing homelessness and the pandemic made this nearly impossible,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “The two L.A. Care grants give our vulnerable neighbors access to life saving care and essential supplies, and they also keep the hardworking people who serve them safe through personal protective equipment.”

L.A. Care and the United Way believe these grants can help suppress the spread and impact of COVID-19 across the county. The efforts for the first grant will concentrate on areas with the highest proportions of unsheltered individuals in L.A. County.

This press release was provided by L.A. Care Health Plan.