(Logo via Kaiser Permanente)

Kaiser Permanente Announces Three Initiatives to Improve Community Health by Tackling Housing Insecurity

Originally Published by Kasier Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente today unveiled several major initiatives that will improve health outcomes by creating stable housing for vulnerable populations. The initiatives including seeding a real estate investment in Oakland, anchoring a $100 million national loan fund for affordable housing and kicking off a plan to end homelessness for more than 500 Oakland-area residents are part of a comprehensive strategy to advance the economic, social and environmental conditions for health in the communities that Kaiser Permanente serves.


At a press conference with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and several partners, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson announced the first local impact investment from Kaiser Permanente’s $200 million Thriving Communities Fund.Through the Housing for Health Fund a new joint-equity fund between Enterprise Community Partners, “Enterprise,” and Kaiser Permanente that is for the Bay Area an approximate $5.2 million has been committed to acquire a 41-unit housing complex in East Oakland, near Kaiser Permanente’s national headquarters.

As part of this real estate investment, Kaiser Permanente is partnering with Enterprise and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation to ensure the property, located in the San Antonio district of Oakland, gets needed upgrades and is preserved as affordable housing. EBALDC will also provide residents with the opportunity to get supportive social services, applying the organization’s Healthy Neighborhoods approach to community development.

“Housing security is a crucial health issue for vulnerable populations,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “Access to affordable housing is a key component to Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve and to advance the economic, social and environmental conditions for health.”

“We are proud to partner with Kaiser Permanente and Enterprise for the first investment of the Housing for Health Fund,” said Joshua Simon, executive director of EBALDC. “Through this partnership, we can maximize positive health outcomes in Oakland by supporting residents’ ability to remain in their homes. This couldn’t come at a more critical time for San Antonio, a district on the brink of gentrification. To adequately address the urgent housing crisis we are facing in the Bay Area, we must think creatively and collaboratively. Housing is more than a roof over our heads; it is central to our health and well-being. We hope this fruitful partnership can serve as a powerful model for Oakland, California, and the nation.”

In addition, Tyson joined Enterprise Community Partners President Laurel Blatchford to announce a second fund that will finance the development and preservation of affordable housing. Besides the Housing for Health Fund, Kaiser Permanente and Enterprise will launch a $100 million loan fund to create and preserve multifamily rental homes for low-income residents throughout Kaiser Permanente’s service areas. Enterprise matched Kaiser Permanente’s $50 million commitment for the total $100 million available for investment.

“Enterprise is excited to be a leader in this innovative effort, and we have seen that uniting the housing and health care sectors and making creative use of investment capital will foster healthy homes and communities,” said Laurel Blatchford, president of Enterprise. “Collaborating with partners such as Kaiser Permanente and EBALDC, who also understand that home is at the foundation of health and wellbeing, will improve thousands of lives across the country.”

Finally, Kaiser Permanente announced a significant effort to end homelessness for more than 500 individuals in Oakland who are over the age of 50 and have at least one chronic condition. The city has been hit particularly hard by the housing crisis; between 2015 and 2017, homelessness in Oakland has increased 25 percent. Kaiser Permanente, working with a community partner, identified 500 particularly vulnerable individuals and are now working with the city, Alameda County and other community partners to secure housing and other vital services for the individuals on this list.

“The health and wellness of Oakland is tied to housing in Oakland,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I’m grateful for partners like Kaiser Permanente, EBALDC and Enterprise who are taking a new approach to improving the health outcomes of all our residents by improving housing security for our most vulnerable residents. This is a bold investment to improve our city’s health and we will continue to innovate and create new pathways until all Oakland residents, in all neighborhoods, feel secure in their housing.”

“Improving access to affordable housing is one of the most impactful community interventions we can make to eliminate homelessness,” said Janet Liang, regional president for Kaiser Permanente of Northern California. “This new investment complements several strategies we have sponsored over the past year to help all Oakland residents thrive.”

“We know that differences in health are striking in communities with poor social determinants of health such as unstable housing, low income and unsafe neighborhoods.” said Richard Isaacs, MD, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group. “These innovative strategies are critically important steps toward the maintenance of health improvement, consistent health outcomes and California health equity.”

“As we look to address housing security and homelessness in Alameda County, public-private partnerships are critical, which is why we are glad to see Kaiser Permanente take this step to help those who are most in need,” said Wilma Chan, supervisor of Alameda County and president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

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