Housing for health

Housing for health

Without a safe place to call home, it’s nearly impossible to focus on basic health and medical needs. Kaiser Permanente is leading efforts to end homelessness and preserve affordable housing by making strategic impact investments, shaping policy, and catalyzing innovative partnerships.

COVID-19 continues to impact social health needs in our communities, and people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity are at increased risk.

Nationwide, people of color are more affected by homelessness and housing insecurity, made worse by the pandemic. The health crisis and economic fallout from the pandemic are hitting low-income and communities of color hardest, and threaten to widen the health equity gap in our country even further. As Kaiser Permanente continues to respond on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are accelerating efforts to increase affordable housing, address homelessness, and advance equity in the communities we serve.

Thriving Communities Fund

In 2018, Kaiser Permanente established the $200 million Thriving Communities Fund to take on housing instability and homelessness, including creating or contributing to the following funds:

  • Housing for Health Fund: Provides equity capital to purchase multi-unit housing and protect residents from rent increases and eviction in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.
  • RxHome Fund: Provides low-cost, long-term loans to create and preserve multi-family rental homes for low-income residents in communities across the country where Kaiser Permanente provides care and coverage.
  • Bay’s Future Fund: Invests in development projects across 5 Bay Area counties to catalyze the preservation and production of affordable housing as part of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future.

Addressing homelessness through partnerships and policy

Kaiser Permanente’s multipronged approach to increase affordable housing and address homelessness helps improve the health outcomes of the 68 million people who live in the communities we serve.

  • By partnering with Built for Zero, an initiative of Community Solutions, we aim to create scalable models, build the evidence and belief that ending homelessness is possible, and improve the lives and health of people in our communities experiencing homelessness. From 2018 to 2020, we expanded from 15 communities to 28 communities in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We have ended homelessness for a specific population in 3 of the 28 communities and are seeing sustained reductions in homelessness in 7 communities. 
  • Kaiser Permanente pledged $25 million to advance long-term solutions to California’s homelessness crisis in coordination with Gov. Gavin Newsom. Our commitment will support operational and supportive services for 1,000 housing units as part of Project Homekey in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners.
  • Oakland 515 housed 515 older individuals experiencing homelessness and living with at least one chronic medical condition in stable housing with supportive services as part of our partnership with Bay Area Community Services.
  • Regional Supportive Housing Impact Fund and Metro 300 is an initiative to place medically vulnerable homeless seniors into permanent housing in Portland, Oregon, while building sustainable funding to strengthen housing opportunities and services for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Kaiser Permanente is a founding member of Healthcare Anchor Network, a 50-health-system collaborative that accelerates and expands advocacy and federal support for affordable housing.
  • Kaiser Permanente joined the Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment. The Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment coalition is a project of the National League of Cities that promotes federal affordable housing reforms.
  • CityHealth is an initiative of Kaiser Permanente and the de Beaumont Foundation that promotes healthy policies including inclusionary zoning.

“The Way Home”

As Kaiser Permanente launched a significant investment to address housing insecurity in 2018, the organization partnered with KTF Films and Bread and Butter Films to document and tell stories about the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in California. Kaiser Permanente supported the production of “The Way Home” to deepen understanding, spark dialogue, and illuminate root causes — as well as promising solutions — to the homelessness crisis in California and across the country. This series of short-form documentary films increases visibility of the human side of the epidemic of homelessness. Homelessness is often addressed in terms of the systemic problems at its core, but the lives and people affected by it are often overlooked. Our goal is to elevate the human side of the crisis and we believe this series of films will help deepen understanding of this issue on a broad scale, and serve as a catalyst to help end homelessness in America.

“The Way Home” is streaming on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes.  All proceeds from “The Way Home” will be donated to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.