The Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) Office is launching an Incubation Academy to help small to mid-size community-based nonprofits scale their capacity to address the County’s shortage of much-needed treatment and services for justice-involved individuals.
As the County shifts its focus away from incarcerating low-level offenders and toward providing care and services when appropriate, these community-based organizations are crucial to its success. These are the organizations that will provide beds to those in mental health crises, help re-house houseless persons, provide treatment and counseling to those who are diverted from possible incarceration and help participants find employment and receive other services.
For decades, small community-based organizations in Los Angeles County have provided excellent services to people in need, including for substance abuse treatment, reentry services or supportive housing. The new academy, administered by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los Angeles (LISC LA), will train participants in areas such as fiscal management, contract compliance, court/program reporting and how to contract with the County of Los Angeles. It will also help those that do not have the infrastructure to meet county, state, and federal regulations, develop more internal administrative capacity.
“We know there are many small community-based organizations who are doing great work throughout the county who have found it very difficult to qualify for county contracts,” said ATI Executive Director (Ret.) Judge Songhai Armstead. “And our goal is to fix that on two fronts – by helping the organizations build capacity, but also streamlining and simplifying internal County processes.”
The first cohort selected for the academy will have between 15-25 organizations whose focus is housing, and selections will be made by the end of August 2021. Organizations focused on other areas will be included in subsequent classes.
New and existing community-based organizations are encouraged to apply. In an effort to serve communities in greatest need, there will be an emphasis on organizations headed by underrepresented groups, including justice-involved individuals.
Programming will feature instruction by County department leaders, courtroom navigators and other experts. It will also pair participants with larger, more established community-based organizations. By design, the intent is for the larger organizations to subcontract with the smaller providers for beds and treatment delivered to constituents as part of the “on-the-job training” academy experience.
“With our proven record in taking progressive ideas for communities and turning them into effective programs, we are thrilled to be joining the County in this effort,” said Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director of LISC LA. “Mass incarceration in LA is a form of structural racism that has devastatingly affected the Black community, and LISC LA understands how resources used to build healthy communities decrease overreliance on formal justice structures.”
By program’s end, participants will be positioned to compete for County contracts and funding.
The launch of the academy continues the ATI Office’s work designing programs and strategies to address the over-incarceration of the County’s most vulnerable populations and diverting them instead to treatment, services, housing, and self-sustaining resources.