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Partnership aims to end chronic homelessness in 15 US communities

Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente is helping to accelerate Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative which helps leaders better understand homelessness in their communities

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Kaiser Permanente wants to advance the economic and social conditions for health
Kaiser Permanente wants to advance the economic and social conditions for health

US healthcare and plan provider, Kaiser Permanente, has partnered with Community Solutions in a bid to help accelerate the Built for Zero movement to end homelessness.

 

As part of the new partnership, Kaiser Permanente will provide $3m 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.

 

Problem-solving tools

 

Built for Zero enables communities to adopt problem-solving tools and technologies to end homelessness and the conditions that create it.

 

Under the terms of the agreement, the efforts to end chronic homelessness will be targeted at 15 communities within Kaiser Permanente’s national footprint.

 

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, the company states.

 

“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, chief community health officer, Kaiser Permanente.

 

“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.”

 

Built for Zero is Community Solutions’ national effort to end chronic and veteran homelessness.

“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”

 

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.

 

According to Community Solutions, 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.

 

The participating communities

 

The 15 Kaiser Permanente communities participating in Built for Zero are: Sacramento and Sacramento County, California; Marin County, California; Richmond and Contra Costa County, California; Fresno and Madera Counties, California; Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Santa Cruz County, California Riverside County, California; Washington DC; Baltimore; Montgomery County, Maryland; Montgomery County, Maryland; Arlington County, Virginia; Fairfax County, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; and Honolulu.

 

“We are thrilled to work with Kaiser Permanente to accelerate Built for Zero in these communities,” added 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.”

 

Kaiser Permanente is a mission-based non-profit, and points to this as the latest example of its commitment to address the social factors that affect health outcomes, such as access to stable, secure, affordable housing.

 

In January 2019, 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 established the Thriving Communities Fund, a $200m impact investment fund focused on addressing affordable housing and other factors that contribute to the homelessness and housing crisis.

 

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