August 1, 2023

Joining forces to improve community health

The Kaiser Permanente and 211 LA partnership makes strides in improving health and well-being for vulnerable communities in Los Angeles County.

In need of housing and employment, and not knowing where to start, Lewis Jackson, a United States veteran, dialed 211, received resources, and rebuilt his life.

“I did have a criminal record, my job applications were turned down, and nothing was going the way it was supposed to go. I ended up sleeping in my car. Once I spoke to the person at 211 LA, she listened and provided me with a plan for moving forward,“ said Lewis Jackson, a U.S. Iraq War veteran. Jackson experienced transformative changes and is a testament to the organization’s success. “211 LA is not just a resource. It is a place of opportunity and a place of hope.”

211 LA is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles County that provides comprehensive information and referral services to individuals in need. The organization operates a 24-hour helpline that connects people with a wide range of social services and resources available in the region.

Dialing the 211 number opened the door for Jackson to approximately 50,000 services and programs in Los Angeles County. After being matched with resources to find housing, Jackson called 211 again for resources to go to barber school. He called back once more for the supplies and tools he needed to secure employment as a barber. Jackson later enrolled at a local university and is now a care worker specializing in helping veterans find housing, while continuing his original passion of working as a barber, too. Watch his inspiring story.

Building a connected network to bring hope 

With the help of $1.5 million in grant funding from Kaiser Permanente, and strong relationships with a wide range of community-based organizations in Los Angeles County, 211 LA established the Social Connections Partnership of Los Angeles County, known as SCP-LA, in May 2021. It is a network of health care and social service providers throughout Los Angeles County collaborating using shared technology. It integrates whole-person care with basic support for individuals with unmet social needs such as food insecurity, housing instability, or lack of transportation.

The collaboration successfully onboarded more than 75 partner organizations to the network, made more than 3,079 referrals to vital services, and assisted with more than 2,662 cases.

“Even with access to the best health care services, it is much harder to be healthy if a person has unmet social needs such as housing, food, employment, and community support. That’s why Kaiser Permanente is building our social health program to screen for unmet social needs and connect our patients to community resources," said John Yamamoto, vice president of Community Health and Government Relations for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. “211 LA has long been a vital community services hub supporting the people of Los Angeles County. We are grateful for uniting with 211 LA to help our patients access and coordinate the social support they need for their health.”

Bridging the gap between clinical and social care 

211 LA serves as a coordination center for the network, recruits and onboards organizations into the network, identifies service gaps, and coordinates care for individuals and families who are referred.

“It’s an honor to work with Kaiser Permanente, an organization committed to delivering the highest levels of health care that Los Angeles County residents deserve,” said Maribel Marin, executive director of 211 LA, a nonprofit that has been serving the most vulnerable populations for the past 40 years. “The story of Mr. Jackson captures the mission of 211 LA and demonstrates our ability to handle complex issues and situations with a combination of the best technology, social service expertise, and personal attention.”

Individuals in need of health and social services in Los Angeles County can dial the 24-hour 2-1-1 call line or use the 211 LA website to text and chat.