West Los Angeles families are being asked to provide free temporary lodging to UCLA Medical Center patients and relatives as part of a special program designed to help out-of-town patients avoid the high cost of housing.
UCLA's Host Home Program, sponsored by the medical center's Clinical Social Work and Pastoral Care departments and University Religious Conference, is trying to identify about 50 families a year willing to open their doors to patients and families for brief stays.
The Rev. Janet Humphreys, director of pastoral care at UCLA Medical Center, said the combination of high costs for health care and high costs for lodging is more than many families can afford.
"This program is beneficial in answering the numerous requests for housing we receive from out-of-town patients and families who, in addition to the stress of an illness, have to worry about the expense of a hotel," she said.
Under the program, the hosts are not asked to provide food, child care or transportation. "They just provide a place to stay," Humphreys said. The length of the stay varies from one night to about a week.
She said the program has only been able to fill 13 of the 19 requests it has received since October. Many of those who need housing have come from out of state or from other countries to undergo special medical treatment at UCLA.
"Someone may fly in from Colorado for a bone marrow transplant and find that they don't need to stay in the hospital overnight and they can't fly back and forth from Colorado," Humphreys said. "We try to get them some place to stay near the hospital."
The program also finds housing for out-of-town family members who want to be close to their loved ones during their recovery. Many of the patients involved in the program have undergone transplants, cancer treatment or heart surgery.
Homes selected to become part of the program must be within a five-mile radius of the Westwood medical center, she said.
For information on how to become a host call (213) 825-7484 or 206-3660.