New Kaiser Permanente Partnership Aims to End Chronic Homelessness in 15 Communities

Collaboration with Community Solutions will accelerate the Built for Zero movement to end homelessness.

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

At the annual South by Southwest Conference, Kaiser Permanente today announced a partnership with Community Solutions to help accelerate efforts to end chronic homelessness in 15 communities within Kaiser Permanente’s national footprint.

As part of the new partnership, Kaiser Permanente will provide $3 million over a three-year period to Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative, which uses real-time data to help local leaders better understand the dynamics of homelessness in their communities. Built for Zero enables communities to adopt problem-solving tools and technologies to end homelessness and the conditions that create it.

“Kaiser Permanente is investing in efforts to reduce homelessness and housing insecurity because there is a proven link between housing and health,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “Addressing affordable housing and homelessness is crucial 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.”

Mortality rates among people experiencing chronic homelessness are three to four times that of the general population. Without a safe, stable place to live, it is nearly impossible to maintain one’s health or sustain health improvements achieved in a medical setting.

“Living without a home can have a dramatic impact on a person’s health, yet many of the communities we serve are grappling with extreme rates of housing insecurity and homelessness.” said Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s chief community health officer. “We know there is no simple solution to such a complex problem, but through strategic partnerships, such as the one with Community Solutions, we believe it can be solved.”

“We are thrilled to work with Kaiser Permanente to accelerate Built for Zero in these communities,” said Rosanne Haggerty, president of Community Solutions. “Together, we will use data and analytics to help these communities adopt the tools they need to end homelessness and address the conditions that create it.”          

Built for Zero is Community Solutions’ national effort to end chronic and veteran homelessness. It is currently operating in more than 70 communities across the country. Since January 2015, more than 65,000 veterans and 38,500 chronically homeless Americans have been housed by participating communities. To date, three Built for Zero communities have ended chronic homelessness and another nine have ended veteran homelessness. The Tableau Foundation recently announced additional data and analytics software support to Community Solutions’ expansion of Built for Zero.

Kaiser Permanente is a mission-based nonprofit, and this effort 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 January, Kaiser Permanente announced a commitment to house 500 individuals experiencing homelessness in Oakland, California, who are over the age of 50 and live with a chronic condition. Last year it 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.

The 15 Kaiser Permanente communities participating in Built for Zero are:

1. Sacramento & Sacramento County, Calif9. Baltimore
2. Marin County, Calif.10. Montgomery County, Md.
3. Richmond & Contra Costa County, Calif.11. Arlington County, Va.
4. Fresno & Madera Counties, Calif.12. Fairfax County, Va.
5. Santa Cruz, Watsonville & Santa Cruz County, Calif.13. Denver
6. Bakersfield & Kern County, Calif.14. Atlanta
7. Riverside County, Calif.15. Honolulu
8. Washington, D.C.

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