On Friday, May 18th, Kaiser Permanente announced a national impact investing commitment of up to $200 million to address housing stability and homelessness, among other community needs. Impact investing, an increasingly popular lever for social change, is any investment made with the intention to generate a social or environmental impact alongside a financial return – so unlike traditional investing, it considers the impact of the investment alongside the potential financial return.
Our initial focus will be on preventing displacement or homelessness of lower- and middle-income households in rapidly changing communities; reducing homelessness by ensuring access to supportive housing; and making affordable homes healthier and more environmentally sound. For this work, Kaiser Permanente has joined the Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, a first-of-its-kind coalition comprised of local government officials and business leaders working to advance key federal housing priorities. The coalition includes mayors from across the country, including several Kaiser Permanente communities – Alexandria, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Oakland, California; and Portland, Oregon.
This historic announcement was made by Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson at an event in Washington, D.C. Tyson was joined for the announcement by Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s Chief Community Health Officer, and several mayors including Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg. “I cannot imagine what it’s like to put my head down to sleep on the streets of America, but I can imagine how it will feel when we solve this problem,” said Tyson.
This announcement is another step in Kaiser Permanente’s increasing investment in our community health, particularly the non-medical causes of poor health. As Choucair said, “When we focus on conditions for health and equity in our communities, not only our 12.3 members will benefit, really all 65 million people who live in our communities will benefit. That’s why this work that we do in Community Health at Kaiser Permanente is core to who we are, is core to our organizational mission and strategy.”