On September 30, in partnership with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Kaiser Permanente hosted the second annual Regional Homelessness Forum, bringing together non-profit organizations, public and private funders, and government agencies to focus on the importance of medical respite care programs and collaboration to reduce the prevalence of homelessness.
A sudden change in a family’s economic stability such as job loss or a medical emergency can leave a family without a stable place to live. Without stable housing, it is nearly impossible for a person to take care of basic health needs.
Health systems like Kaiser Permanente are increasingly joining with other partners across industries to improve access to affordable housing as a solution to end homelessness and promote better health outcomes in the communities they serve.
Kaiser Permanente considers stable housing fundamental to a person’s total health. That’s why they have invested more than $1.6 million in grants to homeless service organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region since 2020; they are also participating in a national partnership with the National Institute for Medical Respite Care to support programs which offer short-term housing and medical care for people too ill to recover from an illness or injury on the streets, but not ill enough to be in the hospital.
Participants in the September 30th forum heard personal narratives from community members who experienced homelessness. Participants also learned how to operationalize racial equity in homeless services, specifically for Black and Brown communities. The event also included a panel on medical respite, featuring Kaiser Permanente’s regional partner PathForward in Arlington, Virginia. During the event, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott offered greetings, and the Regional Champion award was presented to Kevin Lindamood, President and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore. Other speakers included Laura Zeilinger, Director of the District Columbia Department of Human Services, and Irene Augustin, Director of the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services.
“My administration is hard at work partnered with agencies and organizations like Kaiser [Permanente] to ensure that homelessness is brief and nonrecurring for Baltimoreans who are experiencing those challenges,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I want to emphasize just how critical this work is to the survival of our communities.”
Building on the forum’s success with 87 participants at the height of attendance, Kaiser Permanente is excited to continue these collaborations in future forums with leaders and change agents in housing and homelessness.
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 12.6 million members in 8 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. For more information, go to about.kp.org.