South San Francisco, CA January 17, 2020 Submitted by Matt Skryja, Kaiser Permanente
State’s largest health care system is a first partner in California Access to Housing and Services Fund, extending its work toward solving homelessness
OAKLAND, Calif., January 17, 2020 — Nonprofit health care system Kaiser Permanente today announced it will be a first private sector contributor to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s newly announced fund to combat homelessness in the state, committing $25 million to the effort.
This pledge supports efforts statewide across Kaiser Permanente’s footprint and builds on the $200 million in impact investments that Kaiser Permanente has announced in recent years in support of community health mainly focusing on affordable housing. It also complements ongoing sustainable rapid-housing programs and efforts to strengthen systems that can end chronic homelessness.
Newsom announced the creation of the $750 million California Access to Housing and Services Fund in a preview of his 2020-21 budget on January 8, calling on corporate and philanthropic organizations to contribute to the fund as well. The fund will focus on prevention and early intervention by paying rent for individuals experiencing homelessness or on the verge of losing housing; supporting local governments to develop additional low-income housing units; and helping stabilize board-and-care facilities that house multiple people.
“Chronic homelessness has been shown to cut 27 years from the average life span and is associated with communicable diseases such as hepatitis and typhus, increased hospitalizations, and frequent re-admissions,” said Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Greg Adams. “Safe and stable housing is key to a person’s physical, mental and social health, so we applaud the governor’s plan to address homelessness. Our investment in the fund aligns with Kaiser Permanente’s overall strategy to preserve affordable housing and prevent displacement of existing residents, while addressing the root causes of homelessness in our communities.”
The California Access to Housing and Services Fund is the cornerstone of Newsom’s budget proposal, which allocates more than $1 billion to address homelessness. Funds will be given directly to local providers throughout California by the Department of Social Services, providing flexibility to allocate resources to address communities’ varying needs.
“The homelessness crisis impacts every community in California and it’s on all of us to step up and lean in to find solutions. Just nine days after challenging California’s philanthropic and private sectors to partner with the state, Kaiser Permanente answered the call,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “I thank Kaiser Permanente’s leadership for meeting this moment head on with $25 million and joining with local and state efforts to get Californians off the street and into housing and health services.”
Affordable housing and homelessness are a significant focus of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health outcomes of the 68 million people who live in the communities the organization serves. Overall mortality rates among people experiencing chronic homelessness are 3 to 4 times that of the general population. Homelessness increases the level and amount of care the health system must provide, even as it limits how successful that care can be. Common conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma are nearly impossible to manage without housing.
“As a nonprofit integrated health system, we have strived to create total health for our members and our communities, and we know without a place to call home it is nearly impossible to maintain health,” said Dr. Cynthia Telles, Community Health committee chair for the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Boards of Directors. “Kaiser Permanente has moved beyond hospital walls to improve the lives of people in the communities we serve.”
Kaiser Permanente’s work to combat homelessness includes a successful initiative with Bay Area Community Services to house 515 Oakland adults above the age of 50 and battling chronic health conditions; and a partnership with Community Solutions to enact system change that will end chronic homelessness in 24 communities that Kaiser Permanente serves.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/