May 15, 2020

Kaiser Permanente announces $1 million for Denver homelessness fund

Contribution will support increased COVID-19 suppression efforts in city’s homeless population.

DENVER — Kaiser Permanente and the City and County of Denver today announced a $1 million contribution that supports Denver’s Housing and Homeless Services Fund. This new contribution will also help provide necessary resources for the suppression of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, for people experiencing homelessness in the city and county of Denver.

Through the contribution, Kaiser Permanente joins a team of several private funders that have raised $4.5 million toward Denver’s Housing and Homeless Services Fund. The public-private fund also includes $11.2 million from the City of Denver and supports permanent infrastructure changes to Denver’s network of shelter service providers. Changes include expanded day shelter access, critical shelter improvements, and enhanced onsite programs and services to better connect residents with permanent housing.

“We’re fortunate to have such a strong network of community partners in Denver committed to implementing real solutions to support our residents experiencing homelessness,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Kaiser Permanente’s continued support for people experiencing homelessness comes at a critical time for our community, and we’re proud to be able to leverage this investment to help further protect residents from COVID-19.”

Due to COVID-19, extra key infrastructure requirements have surfaced for area shelters. The Kaiser Permanente contribution provides added flexibility for Denver to meet these needs while complementing federal relief dollars.

“This contribution stands as one more way Coloradans are coming together to help provide more resources to our most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Ramseier, regional president for Kaiser Permanente of Colorado. “We’re proud to support the City of Denver and all who are working to improve the health of our communities.”

In addition to the original scope of the Housing and Homeless Services Fund, this contribution will also be used for COVID-19 suppression efforts such as:

  • Isolation/Quarantine: Providing activated respite and rapid rehousing assistance, enabling quarantine and isolation of COVID-19-positive and exposed individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Expanded Testing: Prioritizing and facilitating testing of shelter staff and guests
  • Contact Tracing: Encouraging use of the Homeless Management Information System, or HMIS, for all Denver metro area providers, enabling more reliable identification of specific individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Cleaning and Hygiene: Funding cleaning and sanitation of necessary supplies, enabling better hygiene in Denver’s shelters

“We know housing insecurity has a direct, negative impact on health — and the COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional burdens on those experiencing homelessness,” said Margaret Ferguson, MD, president and executive medical director of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, which provides care for the more than 620,000 Kaiser Permanente members in Colorado. “By providing additional support and resources, we can help suppress the spread of this pandemic in this at-risk community and help make all our communities healthier.”

This $1 million contribution, which is awaiting final approval from the Denver City Council, is the latest move by the state’s largest nonprofit, integrated health system to alleviate the epidemic of homelessness across the communities it serves. Recently, in partnership with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Kaiser Permanente provided $60,000 to Colorado-based nonprofits providing health care services to people experiencing homelessness in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was part of a $1 million contribution and partnership with the NHCHC to increase capacity for preventing and treating cases of COVID-19 within the nation’s homeless population.

In November 2019, Kaiser Permanente collaborated with Community Solutions and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing to provide $500,000 in community health funding for 5 local communities to join Denver in a community cohort aimed at ending homelessness in their respective communities along the Front Range and Western Slope, and in the mountain communities.

Joining Kaiser Permanente in supporting the homelessness services initiative are the Anschutz Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, Broe Family Foundation, the Associated General Contractors of Colorado, BPX, the Downtown Denver Partnership, VISIT DENVER, and Mile High United Way, which served as the custodian to accept funds from private entities.

For more information on Denver’s Housing and Homelessness Fund and its additional private funders, please visit denvergov.org.

Learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s work to end homelessness.

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 not-for-profit 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 12.4 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, including over 620,000 members in Colorado. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical 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. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.