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Kaiser Permanente to invest $200 million in housing-as-healthcare initiatives

ImpactAlpha, May 22 – Kaiser Permanente, the non-profit healthcare provider, which runs the largest integrated health system in the U.S., sees up-close the negative health effects of housing instability.

Tackling such “social determinants of health” is increasingly seen as key to improved outcomes and reduced costs. “To improve the health of an entire community we must step beyond the four walls of our hospitals and medical offices to help those most in need,” says Kaiser’s Bechara Choucair.

A $200 million impact investing initiative as part of Kaiser’s Thriving Communities Fund will focus on homelessness prevention and supportive and affordable housing for low- and middle-income families in “rapidly changing communities.” Kaiser didn’t disclose specific impact or financial targets.

Kaiser doesn’t have to look far for evidence of the challenges. In its headquarters city of Oakland, California, four out of five low-income households spend more than 30% of their income on housing (one study puts the city’s average at 43%), making them “cost burdened” by housing.

The fund is also expected to invest in Baltimore, which is planning a dedicated investment fund to fight homelessness, Forbes reports. Kaiser joined a coalition of “Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment” that includes mayors of Oakland, Baltimore, Charlotte, Portland, Ore., and Alexandria, Va.

  • Network reach… Kaiser’s 12 million members live in communities that collectively include 65 million residents, or about 20% of the U.S. population.
  • Go deeper… The Healthy Outcomes Initiative of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, supported by the Kresge Foundation, is rounding up lessons from collaborations of health and human services providers around the country. Their report.

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