Kaiser Permanente pledges $5.1M in 2020 to reduce homelessness

Kaiser Permanente's Northwest region, based in Portland, Ore., is investing $5.1 million this year to provide housing for 300 homeless seniors who have chronic diseases or other complex health issues.

The project, called Metro 300, will do "anything necessary" to achieve the goal by the end of the year, which may include providing housing navigation, move-in and rental assistance, and ongoing support services. The initiative is modeled after Kaiser Permanente's efforts in Oakland, Calif., that connected 515 homeless seniors to permanent housing last year. 

Kaiser Permanente believes the focus on housing as a driver of health will help improve community well-being, reduce emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, and drive down mortality rates.

"Homelessness is the number one issue facing our community, and solving it requires long-term solutions that address the underlying reasons people become and stay homeless," said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in a press release. "It's a complex problem that requires the creativity and collaboration of everyone in our community, and we appreciate that Kaiser Permanente and others in our region's healthcare, philanthropic, business and government sectors are taking an active role in bringing new solutions to the table."

Health Share of Oregon, a Medicaid coordinated care organization, will administer the initiative's housing fund, combining donations with Medicaid dollars to efficiently increase access to affordable and stable housing. Other health systems involved in the Regional Supportive Housing Impact Fund are Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Science University and Adventist Health Portland, all based in Portland, as well as Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services.

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