April 3, 2019

Supporting community health with $22 million in grants

Kaiser Permanente pledges grants that reflect a broad approach to improving community health and a focus on housing security.

In the coming months, Kaiser Permanente will award $22 million in grants to community-based and national charitable organizations that work to ensure access to health care and improve the conditions for health in communities from Oahu, Hawaii, to Washington, D.C.

As a mission-based nonprofit, Kaiser Permanente continues to broaden its approach to improve the conditions for health in the communities it serves. Core to improving these conditions is addressing the root factors that affect our health, such as economic and housing security. The grants pledged this winter include investments that will provide a range of assistance to people experiencing homelessness. Support will include housing, social services support, and medical and mental health services.

“In order to improve the health of an entire community, we recognize that we must focus first on those most in need, and homelessness is a significant issue in many of the communities we serve,” said Cynthia Telles, PhD, Community Health Committee board chair.

Six of the top 10 U.S. cities with the largest homeless populations are in Kaiser Permanente’s service areas, and 25 percent of the nation’s homeless population live in California where Kaiser Permanente is based.

Organizations that Kaiser Permanente will fund include:

LA Family Housing – which provides supportive housing to homeless people, and will build a health care center that will provide at least 10,000 onsite primary, dental, and mental health care visits in its first full year of operation.

City of Oakland – which recently purchased a single room occupancy hotel, and will renovate the building and provide housing and social services to approximately 150 homeless adults each year.

WellSpace Health – which provides primary, dental, and mental health care services to low-income patients, and will purchase and renovate a building to expand respite care services for 6,000 homeless residents of Sacramento each year.

“I began my career as a family physician who worked with homeless people in Houston and Chicago, and I learned early on that health cannot happen without housing,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s chief community health officer. “These grants will make a difference in the health of thousands of people in our community who need it most.”

Quarterly grants such as these are part of the contributions that Kaiser Permanente makes each year to improve community health. We do this by serving those most in need, collaborating to improve the conditions for health and equity in the communities we serve, and applying technology to create community-based solutions. Kaiser Permanente also serves the community through a range of programs including: Medicaid, charitable health coverage, medical financial assistance, and medical research. In 2018, Kaiser Permanente contributed nearly $2.8 billion to improve health and wellness in communities across the country.