live Finalist / 2019

Recovery from Homelessness

Recovery from Homelessness

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by The Midnight Mission

The Midnight Mission offers a variety of programs for homeless individuals & families, the goal of which is to give program participants the tools needed to achieve & maintain self-sufficiency. Program graduates participate in our alumni network, which keeps them connected to each other, our staff, & our program services, with the goal of preventing future homelessness. Our Recovery from Homelessness project will apply the 12-step principles to life after homelessness for our alumni network.


What does your organization do?

Our Mission: To offer a bridge to self-sufficiency and make available the necessities of life to people experiencing homelessness.

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

The Midnight Mission (TMM) was founded in 1914 by businessman and lay minister Thomas Liddecoat, who would serve the men of Los Angeles’ Skid Row a meal at midnight after a sermon. In the 1920s, TMM dropped its religious affiliation, opening up its services to everybody in need. Over time, the Skid Row community’s demographics and needs changed, and TMM expanded its program services in response. Now, in addition to serving more than 1 million meals per year to the homeless and low income community and sheltering up to 1,000 people per night across our three locations, we offer numerous life-changing & life-saving services, including drug & alcohol recovery, family living, case management, education & workforce development, and physical & mental health services.

One person whose life was profoundly changed by TMM is Rebecca. Rebecca never dreamed that she and her young son would end up homeless. She had all the ingredients necessary to live a happy, successful life - a college degree, a good job at Boeing - but she developed a drug problem and was unable to stop. Eventually, she lost everything and she and her son ended up on the streets. “With God’s loving grace and a lot of hard work,” as she puts it, she was able to get sober and it was then that she started to pick up the pieces of her life. She got a full-time job at a restaurant, but still couldn’t afford her own apartment. She and her son were living in horrible conditions. Fortunately, a friend told her about TMM’s Family Living program, and she turned to them for help. She was given a case manager who created a plan for her to become successful in every area of her life - sobriety, family & employment. While in the program, she completed school to become a surgical technologist while working as a barista and saving money. When she graduated from the program, she found rewarding work immediately at a hospital. Her son is thriving, involved with little league, camp and swimming. He doesn’t remember the struggles they faced together when he was a toddler. In fact, his memories of TMM’s Family Living program are those of a loving home - not a traumatic shelter. “I never imagined life could be this amazing and full,” says Rebecca.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard
  • Rates of homelessness
  • Resilient communities

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • Westside

How will your project make LA the best place to live?

The Midnight Mission (TMM) offers a variety of life-saving programs for homeless individuals & families, one of which is our Healthy Living program. Most of those in this program suffer from drug, alcohol, & other addictions. The program incorporates the 12-step philosophy commonly used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), combined with case management plans, which provide the tools needed to achieve & maintain self-sufficiency. Because the 12 steps are actually principles for living, rather than just a tool to overcome addiction, we have begun to apply the 12-step philosophy as “steps” for those on their journey to being housed. We are also applying this 12-step process as a way to address “life after homelessness” for those who have become stably housed & are now part of our alumni network.

Our alumni network keeps graduates of our programs connected to each other, our staff, & TMM’s services and resources, with the goal of preventing future episodes of homelessness. TMM has seen that living happily and successfully after experiencing homelessness is highly dependent upon one’s general wellbeing, ability to prioritize life’s challenges, & moving in a positive direction, all of which the 12 steps effectively address.

To execute the Recovery from Homelessness project, TMM will employ the 12-step philosophy in program participants’ aftercare plans, & hold regular support meetings for program alumni that incorporate 12-step ideas.

TMM’s Recovery from Homelessness project will benefit individuals & families who are currently receiving shelter & services as well as those who have graduated from our programs & have exited to stable housing.

The project is a post-pilot based on the initial success of applying 12-step principles to help those in our alumni network. The timeline for this project is ongoing. TMM will collect surveys & critical success factor data & use it to evaluate the project’s effectiveness after one year of implementation.

The Recovery from Homelessness project prevents future episodes of homelessness by using a 12-step process that provides support, encouragement & accountability for people who want to overcome their barriers to success. Each participant will identify their own “steps,” based loosely on AA. For example: Acknowledging that life is unmanageable because of homelessness, that homelessness may not be immediately overcome, that we can inventory & account for our actions that led to homelessness, that we can forgive ourselves for our past mistakes & identify potential mistakes before we make them, that once we are stable, we should help those still struggling. Our project helps build resilient communities by keeping those who have experienced homelessness connected to each other through social activities & volunteer & mentorship opportunities. We will measure & evaluate the project’s success by surveying our current program participants & alumni network & tracking critical success factors.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Post-pilot (testing an expansion of concept after initially successful pilot)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

If the Recovery from Homelessness project prevents future episodes of homelessness for those in our alumni network and gives them the tools they need to maintain self-sufficiency (personal wellbeing, employment & housing), we will consider the project a success.

We will measure success by conducting participant satisfaction surveys biannually. We will also create and track critical success factors, including the number of those in our alumni network who:

  • Are actively participating in the alumni network (Goal: 100)

  • Are stably housed (Goal: 100%)

  • Are employed (Goal: 100%)

  • Increased their income (Goal: 25%)

  • Reunited with family, where applicable

  • Are participating in TMM social activities (Goal: 100%)

  • Are involved in TMM volunteer & mentorship opportunities (Goal: 100%)

  • Have improved their mental health, which will be measured using the Beck Anxiety & Depression Inventory Scale (Goal: 100%)

*Goals are for the end of the post-pilot phase, or one year after receiving funding & support from LA2050