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live / 2020

Young Adult Food Security Initiative

Young Adult Food Security Initiative Play Video Play Video Play video on

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Young Invincibles

Young adults in Los Angeles face persistent insecurity in access to both food and health care. This insecurity is made worse by deficits in both information about and uptake of available health benefits, such as Medi-Cal, and food benefits, such as Cal-Fresh. YI seeks support to expand the scope of its proven Barbershops campaign, previously focused on Medi-Cal only - to better connect young people from the Black and Latinx communities in Los Angeles County to the health and nutritional benefits for which they are eligible.

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

  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • South LA

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g, using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

What is the need you’re responding to?

A 2019 article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine estimates 11% of young adults nationally are food insecure. A 2017 report from The Urban Institute estimated 11% of households with a 4-year college student experienced food insecurity. That figure is 17% when including a community college student. A 2019 study of 40,000 California community college students shared that half of respondents were food insecure in the prior 30 days. Food insecurity is characterized by disrupted eating patterns and reduced quality and quantity of diets. Hunger has deep physical, emotional, and academic effects, exacerbating health problems and derailing academic progress. The problem often goes unnoticed, and the stigma around being unable to meet basic needs keeps people from seeking help. Having already developed and proven a model to drive Medi-Cal uptake among young adults of color in LA, YI seeks the resources to expand the scope of our outreach to encompass both health care and nutrition.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

YI is a leader promoting expanded health coverage and anti-hunger policy for young adults. In 2017, YI partnered with iHeart Media and DPSS in a Medi-Cal health care outreach and enrollment program at 12 LA County barbershops, averaging nearly 1,500 enrollments in 3 months. We will expand this model to include Cal-Fresh outreach. Young adults in YI’s programs launched an advocacy campaign to expand SNAP benefits for college students by increasing access to CalFresh benefits. In 2019, YI successfully launched the 2nd year of our #HealthyAdulting campaign micro-targeting Black and Latinx young men for health care literacy and Medi-Cal enrollments. YI led a preventive care conversation with young adults and community members. We developed strategic partnerships with the LA Co. DPSS, Medi-Cal division, small business barbershops in LA Co., local elected officials, the Real 92.3 Big Boy’s Hip Hop and iHeartradio. The series was so successful LA Co. requested adding locations.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Following proven models of success driving benefit uptake among hard-to-reach populations, YI’s efforts will ensure that a generation of young people who might otherwise see their goals deferred or denied due to food and health insecurity will be connected with the resources they need. We seek in particular to both improve benefit uptake, especially among young people of color, as well as to reduce stigma around hunger and health access among young adults in LA. Young people need access to all the resources for which they are eligible.

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

YI assesses the impact of our activities through tracking the number of beneficiaries reached, along with overall evidence of effective communication and benefit uptake among target demographics. Consistent with YI’s previous successful model, YI will track individual participation in programming, and will work with LA DPSS to track sign-ups for eligible benefits. Our state-based work concentrates on digital engagement, resource development, in-person engagement, and coalition partnership. We simultaneously recognize that elevating awareness of a program availability is valuable, as well as the number enrolled. We track the number of people to whom we provide information and capture stories of their experiences. By the end of the grant year, 1000 Californians, primarily those newly eligible for health care, will have received education about their health care coverage options and enrollment opportunities. Typically, each person directly impacted by our program reports having shared information and resources with 3 others. With this in mind, our indirect impact will be at least 3000 additional Angelinos.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Access to healthy food
  • Food insecurity
  • Healthcare access

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Communications support
  • Strategy assistance and implementation