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Kaiser Permanente: Spotlighting the Human Side of Homelessness

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org.

“The Way Home” documentary series, created with support from Kaiser Permanente, premieres nationally.

Kaiser Permanente is proud to announce the release of the first season of “The Way Home,” a short-form documentary film series from KTF Films and Bread and Butter Films that explores the human side of California’s homelessness crisis. Created with the support of Kaiser Permanente, this series aims to deepen understanding, spark conversations, and highlight causes — as well as promising solutions — to the homelessness crisis in California and across the country.

Movie poster for the documentary series, "The Way Home" with a pair of weathered man's hands holding a cardboard cut-out shaped like a house.

The first season’s 4 episodes are available to watch streaming on Amazon PrimeiTunes, and Google Play. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of homelessness: the origins of the crisis, the affordable housing shortage, how homelessness disproportionately impacts older and African American populations, and the promising work being done.

“Homelessness is often addressed in terms of the systemic problems at its core, but the people and lives directly affected by it are often overlooked. The opportunity to raise awareness by documenting the reality of this broad issue on a human level has been eye-opening for me, and I hope audiences will similarly come to see homelessness from a new perspective,” said Don Hardy, director of “The Way Home.”

For several years, Kaiser Permanente has put housing solutions at the center of its efforts to improve the conditions for health in communities across the United States, because without a safe, stable place to live, it is nearly impossible to maintain or improve health. The organization is leading efforts to end homelessness and preserve affordable housing by making impact investments in affordable housing and economic opportunity, shaping policy, and fostering innovation through partnerships.

Since 2018, Kaiser Permanente has committed $200 million to build and preserve affordable housing for low-income and vulnerable populations across the United States. The organization partnered with Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative to speed the end of chronic homelessness in 28 communities in California and across the country, and joined Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment to advocate for pro-housing policy change. And in 2019 Kaiser Permanente partnered with Bay Area Community Services to house 515 aging homeless individuals in Oakland, California.

But even as these efforts have seen success, the COVID-19 pandemic — the health and economic impacts of which disproportionately impact people of color and low-income communities — is pushing more people toward homelessness and making life even more dangerous for the unhoused.

“We know that only through innovative partnerships, strategic investments, and impactful storytelling can we move the needle for our most vulnerable communities. That’s why Kaiser Permanente partnered with this talented team of independent filmmakers to document and humanize the growing homelessness crisis in California and beyond,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Permanente.

All proceeds from “The Way Home” will be donated to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Read more about Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to end homelessness at about.kp/housing.

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