Kaiser Permanente is working with community partners to reduce financial insecurity and improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities.
Before joining the Center for Living and Learning, John Carlo Apelacio had poor credit and no savings. He felt anxious about finances due to a lack of financial education and struggles with addiction. He enrolled in the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise, known as LA:RISE, as a participant in its transitional work experience and job readiness program. Apelacio was eventually offered a job at LA:RISE to assist its program manager with launching a new financial empowerment program at the Center for Living and Learning.
Using a web-based platform called Change Machine, which provides financial coaching and training, he enhanced his skills and was able to improve his finances, including raising his credit score by more than 90 points, creating a budget, and saving money.
“The financial empowerment program helped me repair personal relationships, and develop presentation and public speaking skills,” said Apelacio. “I now teach financial education classes at treatment centers using Change Machine’s coaching tools. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others. I want others to know the importance of keeping an open mind and have the courage to try new things in personal growth.”
Change Machine is used by individuals and organizations working with people from low- and moderate-income communities. It is a powerful tool for organizations looking to provide high-quality financial coaching services and promote financial stability for their clients. Services and resources include customizable action plans, budgeting and goal-setting tools, and training modules on financial topics such as credit building, debt management, and savings strategies.
People who struggle with financial instability also may not have access to healthy food, safe housing, or health care services, all of which are critical components of good health.
Kaiser Permanente in Southern California awarded 5 of its community partners with $100,000 each in grant funding to leverage Change Machine’s resources to enhance their financial literacy support for clients. One of those 5 recipient organizations is the Center for Living and Learning, a nonprofit organization that provides education and job training programs for adults who have experienced homelessness, incarceration, or other forms of trauma. The Center for Living and Learning along with the 4 other organizations plan to reach more than 1,900 individuals in the next 2 years.
CLL will use the funds to get access to Change Machine’s resources, training, and financial coaching platform. By combining vocational training with case management, counseling, and financial coaching, CLL helps people develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workforce and achieve their goals.
"Financial vulnerability is a root cause of poor health,” said John Yamamoto, vice president of Community Health and Government Relations for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. “As part of our social mission to improve the health of the communities we serve, Kaiser Permanente partners with organizations like Change Machine and the Center for Living and Learning to create more economic opportunity and address structural barriers to financial resilience in communities."
Financial insecurity and health outcomes are closely interconnected, and one can have a significant impact on the other. Lack of financial resources can cause stress, anxiety, and depression, which can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems. The inability to afford health care services, preventive care, and the cost of treatments and medications can have significant negative impacts on health. It is essential to address financial insecurity and health disparities to ensure that all individuals have access to the resources they need to maintain good health and well-being.
By working together with community partners to improve access to financial education, financial coaching support, and other financial resources, we can help promote better health outcomes and reduce the impact of financial insecurity on vulnerable communities — and reach hundreds of people, like Apelacio, who need a helping hand.