Los Angeles is reported to have one of the largest populations of homeless in the United States. It is estimated that 25% of this population is mentally ill and easily one half or more are substance users. Along with our partner, Friends Research Institute, CBAM’s Executive Director Steven Shoptaw oversees the Safe House program. Located in North Hollywood, Safe House provides emergency, transitional and permanent housing to homeless individuals who are HIV positive and have serious mental illness or substance abuse issues.

Safe House emphasizes a non-judgmental and non-stigmatizing environment. Residents of the program share that they feel “safe,” “hopeful,” and able to “grow” as a result of the program’s high tolerance model, which has provided them with a second chance to improve their situations and to seek the care that they need for their health conditions.

Safe House staff work closely with other community-based social service organizations to ensure that residents receive the on-going support they need. Staff also provide housing assistance to those in the emergency and transitional units, helping them find a more permanent home.

Safe House is funded by the Los Angeles Housing Department’s Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program (HOPWA), other government and foundation sources and donations from individuals. To learn more about Safe House, visit http://www.safehouse-fri.org.


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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