For 1.5 million YouTube viewers, a GoPro video, shot as Jay Mendoza biked along the Santa Ana River trail, was an introduction to just how bad “the homeless problem” was in Orange County. A decade before, Paul Leon, a Public Health Nurse, decided to do something about the problem and founded Illumination Foundation to bring recuperative care, healthcare, emergency – and ultimately, permanent, housing to Orange County’s homeless.
Since founding Illumination Foundation, they’ve provided over a million safe shelter nights. A recent study showed that annual ER visits declined by 22.2% and inpatient admissions decreased by 26.3% for Illumination Foundation clients who completed the program. Overall cost reduction after completing services was 30.7% or 22.9% per member per month. Little wonder Paul won AARP’s 2019 Purpose Prize.
After hearing from Paul, “what happened to the hundreds of people living on the Santa Ana River trail?,” and about the other programs that are being provided to care for the physical and mental health, and to treat their substance use issues of those experiencing homelessness, Paul will not only share how Orange County has addressed these issues, but how The OC’s approach differs from that in other metro markets.
Following the Break, we’ll also look to hear “What’s Up?” in your healthcare world.
Paul Leon is the CEO and President of Illumination Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) he founded in 2008, which provides targeted, interdisciplinary services for the County’s most vulnerable homeless adults and children, thereby disrupting the cycle of homelessness. Paul also pioneered IF’s Recuperative Care Program, now the country’s largest program, to manage the discharge of homeless patients from hospitals. And recently, Illumination Foundation was reported by the Orange County Business Journal to be among the Top Ten nonprofit organizations in Orange County.
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