live / 2021

Back on My Feet Next Steps Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Back on My Feet Los Angeles

Back on My Feet combats homelessness through the power of community and employment resources. Members develop greater confidence and become part of a positive community by joining volunteers on walks/runs and then leverage these soft-skills and confidence developed in the Next Steps Workforce Development Program, working with staff 1-on-1 to upskill and prepare for the workforce and gain employment. BoMF’s person-centered approach gives individuals experiencing homelessness access to opportunities and tools needed for sustainable independence.


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

  • County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Individuals and families can fall into a state of homelessness for a variety of reasons that are often interconnected such as lack of affordable housing, limited economic opportunity, and sudden or long-term medical problems. These challenges are heightened for people of color who face long-standing individual and institutional racism creating barriers to accessing quality education, sustainable employment, affordable housing, and safe public spaces in which to sustain physical and mental wellness. Simply put, too many among us are living on the brink of poverty and homelessness, and it’s difficult to rebound without help. In our own community, 66,436 people in Los Angeles County are experiencing homelessness, a 12% increase from 2019. We anticipate this has increased further due to the pandemic-related economic recession. Sustainable employment is a key factor of sustained independence, breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty. The need for our program is immense and growing.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Back on My Feet (BoMF) combats homelessness through the power of running, community, and essential employment and housing resources. We form run/walk teams comprised of volunteers and members (individuals experiencing homelessness) that meet three times a week. Through exercise and engagement in a positive community, members develop greater confidence, accountability, and discipline. These skills power our members’ progress on the road to employment and independence. After 30 days of building essential skills at morning walks/runs, members move into the “Next Steps” workforce development stage of our program. Staff meet with members 1-on-1 regularly to create a personalized plan to achieve their career goals and aspirations. BoMF ensures each member can overcome barriers to employment and meet their goals through upskilling workshops, financial empowerment courses, education/certification programs, and financial assistance towards the removal of one-time barriers to employment and housing. Additionally, BoMF will launch career coaching volunteer support for members in 2021 to include further individualized employment guidance. Once a member achieves long-term employment and moves into independent housing, they become “alumni”. Our Alumni Program continues to foster the circle of positive support and engagement through additional guidance and invitations to workshops and community activities, as alumni continue their progress into healthier, more economically stable lives.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

122
Direct impact
350
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

BoMF defines success as sustainable, long-term employment supporting individuals in breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Through the BoMF Next Steps program, 80 individuals will gain meaningful employment. BoMF’s transformational impact and vision expand to our broader communities as well. As volunteers from our surrounding LA communities engage with members in our initial programming and through Next Steps, impactful relationships are built and barriers are broken down for the entire LA community. Our program is also cost-effective with an economic impact on the Greater Los Angeles community. On average, the cost to serve one individual experiencing homelessness in LA is $34,000 annually while the cost for BoMF to serve one member through our highly individualized program is a one-time investment of ~$10,000. Furthermore, for every $1 invested into the BoMF program, $2.50 is returned to the community within 3 years through cost savings and increased economic output.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

BoMF determines impact as the number of individuals served and employed. BoMF LA has impacted over 860 individuals in gaining employment and independence. This year 112 new members will engage with the program and 80 members will gain employment. BoMF members not only gain employment but on average, 83% of members are still employed after 15 months. 44% receive a wage increase within their first 6 months, and 21% are promoted. Members also build healthier lifestyles supporting their long-term success. After 60 days of walking/running, members experience health benefits including: 48% reduction in high blood pressure, 41% reduction in obesity, 58% reduction in nicotine usage. Members are also 2.5x more likely to report high self-esteem than the general urban homeless population. After 90 days with BoMF 97% of members take a more positive attitude toward themselves, 72% of members find their life to be more meaningful, and 86% of members feel more satisfied with their lives.

Which of the live metrics will you impact?​

  • Poverty rate
  • Homelessness

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT