January 16, 2017

Grants will help people with mental illness find and sustain housing

Separate Grant Addresses Healing from Childhood Trauma

EUGENE, Ore. – Kaiser Permanente Northwest is awarding grants to several nonprofit Lane County agencies to support unique programs that engage community health workers and peer counselors in helping people with mental illness and addiction disorders find and sustain housing.  A separate grant will support recovery from traumatic childhood experiences.

“The most vulnerable in our community are those who are challenged with behavioral health and unable to secure stable housing,” said Janet O'Hollaren, chief operating officer, Kaiser Permanente Northwest. “This is a problem nationwide. It is encouraging to see people working together at the community level to implement effective programs. We are proud to support them.”

In a 2016 Kaiser Permanente Northwest environmental scan with safety net providers and advocates in Oregon and Washington as well as national, state, regional and county reports, participants identified housing as the most critical need for individuals with serious mental health and substance use disorders. These individuals often have difficulty obtaining and keeping their housing. Kaiser Permanente Northwest seeks to support programs that work with residents with behavioral health issues as they go through the process of securing and maintaining housing.

The selected projects include the involvement of community health workers and peers, and stress collaboration. Each agency has also been asked to identify policy and advocacy efforts for changes that will help bring an end to homelessness for people challenged with mentally illness and addiction.

The two Lane County grant recipients have developed their own unique way of deploying community health workers and advocating for people with mental illness and addiction:

  • ShelterCare ($325,000 over 3.5 years): In collaboration with partners, ShelterCare will provide training to property owners and managers to support their efforts to work with tenants with behavioral health challenges, refer tenants at risk for eviction to community health workers for assistance, and advocate for statewide policy changes for a robust reimbursement of community health workers that recognizes their unique skills and contributions. Project partners include Trauma Healing Project, Cornerstone Community Housing, Laurel Hill Center and the Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County.
  • Willamette Family, Inc. ($325,000 over 3.5 years): Willamette Family will work to help people with behavioral health challenges find and maintain stable housing by training community health workers, providing case management, delivering a rental rehabilitation program and advocating for statewide policy changes for prolonged case management and peer delivered services. Funding is provided by Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Community Benefits program.
  • In addition, the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at the Northwest Health Foundation will support healing work that helps families thrive:

    • Trauma Healing Project ($144,000 over 3 years): The agency will focus its work on its Parent Wellbeing Project, which will serve low-income individuals with histories of adverse childhood experiences who are pregnant or parenting young children. The Project will be a means to improve parent and child wellbeing and reduce the intergenerational transmission of trauma.
    • Kaiser Permanente Northwest opened medical and dental offices in Eugene in 2015. This round of $794,000 in grants is in addition to more than $800,000 in Community Benefits grants from Kaiser Permanente since it opened its Lane County offices in 2015. Kaiser Permanente Northwest also serves 2,000 Oregon Health Plan patients in Lane County. Learn more about Kaiser Permanente in Lane County at kp.org/lane. Learn more about Kaiser Permanente Dental at kp.org/dental/nw.

      About Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at the Northwest Health Foundation

      The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation is a twelve-year, sunset fund with a mission to improve the health of communities throughout the Kaiser Permanente Northwest service region, with a specific focus on addressing the “upstream” factors that create or inhibit community health, also known as the social determinants of health. For information on the Fund’s five guiding values and three focus areas, visit https://www.northwesthealth.org/kpcf/.

      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 nonprofit 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 more than 10.6 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, including more than 550,000 medical and 260,000 dental members in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, dentists, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical and dental 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. In 2015, Kaiser Permanente Northwest provided more than $141 million toward healthier communities in the Northwest. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: http://www.kp.org/share.