Adult Residential Facilities (ARFs) and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) represent an essential part of the continuum of housing support. Commonly referred to as ‘board and care’ facilities, these sites provide housing and enhanced support for a broad range of individuals with diverse care needs. They also provide customized assistance and community-based housing to individuals dealing with mental illness, seniors requiring supportive services, and individuals from these groups who have experienced homelessness – representing a crucial and distinct housing opportunity for some of our most vulnerable community members.
Yet due to rising costs and insufficient reimbursement rates, these sites have seen mounting closures in recent years as operators retire or property maintenance becomes overwhelming for mom-and-pop operators. Since 2016, over 100 facilities have closed in LA County alone, resulting in the loss of 1,700 beds. In response to these challenges, and in an effort to stem the loss of these vital housing resources, LA County and local stakeholders have been working to preserve and expand the supply of Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly.
To gain an understanding of the challenges faced by owners of Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, and to best understand the role that ARF/RCFEs serve in the housing continuum for people experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges, as well as older adults with higher acuity needs, Brilliant Corners engaged The Future Organization, a specialized, research-based consultancy with a focus on serving the needs of nonprofits and government, to conduct a year-long research study to pinpoint the availability of ARF/RCFEs in LA County, examine the challenges to ongoing operation for these sites, uplift opportunities for increasing placement rates for people who have experienced homelessness, and provide recommendations to stabilize and increase access to these vital housing resources.
The study report, Serving Our Vulnerable Populations: Los Angeles County Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, is a first-of-its kind analysis of the landscape of ARFs and RCFEs and the most comprehensive study to date on the range of existing facilities in LA County, current vacancy rates, the percentage of residents who have experienced homelessness, and a deep dive into the unique needs of residents, as well as the needs of facility owners and operators. The report provides comprehensive solutions to strengthen these valuable community resources, and offers recommendations for system improvements.