Kaiser Permanente today announced three-quarters of a million dollars in grants to address homelessness across the Mid-Atlantic region. The grants come as thousands in the DC and Baltimore areas face economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn that has hit the United States. Five grants totaling $750,000 will be given by the health system to organizations across the region that are working to address issues related to housing and homelessness in the community.
“On a daily basis, we work to improve health across our region. Yet, we recognize that there are critical factors impacting the health of those living within our communities such as food access, housing and health care. To address these social health needs, we are proud to support the many organizations that are working to address homelessness in our region as well as the ability of our community-based health clinics to offer virtual care during the pandemic,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, regional president, Kaiser Permanente.
Addressing homelessness is a core piece of Kaiser Permanente’s work to address social health within its communities. In 2020, the health system will invest more than $2.4 million in homelessness in the mid-Atlantic region and more than $36 million nationally According to a January 2019 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, nearly 14,000 persons experienced homelessness in the mid-Atlantic region.
“When you do not have a safe place to live, taking steps to be healthy are nearly impossible. As we strive to help our communities achieve total health, we are looking carefully at how we can invest in making sure everyone has a safe place to live,” said George Leventhal, director of Community Health for Kaiser Permanente.
The homelessness grants will be distributed to organizations in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia.
- Arlington Street People Assistance Network – $50,000 to support A-SPAN’s COVID-19 prevention response among homeless populations through PPE, deep cleaning of the Service Center, rapid testing, quarantine space, medical care, telework for non-essential staff and street outreach for vulnerable persons.
- Cornerstone, Inc. – $150,000 to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on low- and moderate-income families in Fairfax County at risk of eviction and homelessness. The funds will support work to improve communication between tenants and landlords and to engage landlords in a pledge to defer actions such as foreclosures and evictions.
- The Community Partnership for Prevention of Homelessness – $250,000 to address health and housing gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic through increased COVID testing in DC shelters as well as work to connect homeless persons in DC with permanent housing solutions.
- Baltimore’s Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services – $150,000 to support the Digital Locker project, providing free digital storage of vital documents for low-income and homeless service seekers in crisis which can then be accepted by government social services agencies. These funds will be used to help lower the burden on service seekers to get connected to various social assistance programs across local government agencies, vastly reducing the wait time to connect to aid and thereby minimizing the time Baltimore residents spend in crisis.
- Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services – $150,000 to support single adults on the verge of homelessness through person-centered case management and financial incentives to enable individuals to identify and secure housing.
“Thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s support, A-SPAN was able to effectively respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness, and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Arlington County,” said Betsy Frantz, President/CEO of A-SPAN. “The grant allowed us to purchase supplies for prevention and response, which included PPE, regular, specialized deep cleanings of the Homeless Services Center, social distancing, rapid onsite testing, medical care, and quarantine space.”
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/