November 7, 2019

Kaiser Permanente in Colorado working to end homelessness

Community Solutions, Colorado Division of Housing, and 5 new Colorado communities join Kaiser Permanente in national movement to end chronic and veteran homelessness.

DENVER — Kaiser Permanente in Colorado, Community Solutions, and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing have announced significant support for local communities to end chronic homelessness in Colorado.

As part of Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative, 5 local communities have now joined metro Denver to form a community cohort aimed at ending homelessness in their respective communities along the Front Range, Western Slope, and in the mountain communities.

This new cohort is one part of a larger, national body of work from Community Solutions that includes more than 70 communities across the country working to measurably and sustainably end chronic homelessness.

The cohort in Colorado is being supported through $500,000 in community health funding from Kaiser Permanente as part of the nonprofit health care organization’s national collaboration with Community Solutions.

"This is an exciting effort supporting local communities to create a continuum of housing-focused solutions all geared to make homelessness rare, brief, and a one-time occurrence," said Alison George, director of the Division of Housing

Communities that are a part of Built for Zero will collaborate on creating tailored plans to address homelessness in their specific community, adopt proven best practices, use data to improve homelessness plan performance, and share and deploy existing resources more efficiently.

"Built for Zero was built on an understanding that when communities come together it is possible to create a future where homelessness is rare and brief," said Melanie Lewis Dickerson, portfolio lead at Community Solutions. "We are thrilled that communities in Colorado are joining forces with each other and Built for Zero, Kaiser Permanente, and the Division of Housing to make this shared vision a reality."

Metro Denver joined the Built for Zero initiative in 2016 and now, 5 other Colorado communities have signed up. The new cohort of Colorado communities includes:

  • Metro Denver
  • Fremont County
  • Mesa County
  • El Paso County (Pikes Peak Community of Care)
  • Pitkin, Garfield, and Eagle counties
  • Larimer and Weld counties

“The link between housing and health is well documented. With nearly 11,000 Coloradans experiencing homelessness each day, we know more must be done to improve the health of our communities. But we can’t do this alone,” said Mike Ramseier, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. “We are honored to partner with these local institutions and communities as we work collectively to end chronic homelessness.”

Kaiser Permanente is a mission-driven nonprofit health plan, and this support is the latest example of the organization’s commitment to address the social factors that affect health outcomes, such as access to stable, secure, affordable housing.

In 2018 Kaiser Permanente created the Thriving Communities Fund, a $200 million impact investment fund focused on addressing affordable housing and other factors that contribute to the homelessness and housing crisis.

In addition to the work being done in Colorado, Community Solutions has an impressive record including working with 10 communities that have measurably and sustainably ended veteran homelessness. These communities include Rockford, Illinois; Arlington, Virginia; Montgomery County, Maryland; Fort Myers, Florida; Gulfport, Mississippi; Riverside, California; Norman, Oklahoma; Bergen County, New Jersey; Abilene, Texas; and Lake County, Illinois.

To learn more about Built for Zero or to join the initiative, please visit: joinbuiltforzero.org.

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 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. 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.