Kaiser Permanente pledges $3M to combat homelessness in 15 communities
- Kaiser Permanente announced a partnership with nonprofit social services organization Community Solutions to end chronic homelessness in 15 communities.
- The healthcare organization will provide $3 million over three years for Community Solutions' Built for Zero initiative, which helps local leaders better understand homelessness in their communities through the use of real-time data.
- The Built for Zero initiative operates in more than 70 communities and has helped house more than 103,500 veterans and chronically homeless individuals. “Kaiser Permanente is investing in efforts to reduce homelessness and housing insecurity because there is a proven link between housing and health,” Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, said in a statement.
The 15 communities receiving help will be: Sacramento and Sacramento County, CA; Marin County, CA; Richmond and Costa County, CA; Fresno and Madera Counties, CA; Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Santa Cruz County, CA; Bakersfield and Kern County, CA; Riverside County, CA; Washington, DC; Baltimore; Montgomery County, MD; Arlington County, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Denver; Atlanta; and Honolulu.
This is the latest in Kaiser Permanente's recent push to address social factors that affect health outcomes. Earlier this year, the company announced several initiatives to boost affordable housing and reduce homelessness in Oakland, CA. Last year it promised $200 million to address homelessness and boost housing instability, starting with preventing displacement of lower- and middle-income residents in gentrifying neighborhoods.
The organization notes mortality rates for people experiencing chronic homelessness are three times that of the general population. Steadily being without shelter can affect a person's nutrition, hygiene and first aid care, which can lead to premature death. Being without shelter also can negatively affect a person's mental health, which plays into their overall health and well-being.
Follow Katie Pyzyk on Twitter