Kaiser Permanente to invest $200M in initiatives targeting housing insecurity

Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente will invest $200 million to combat homelessness. (Ted Eytan/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Kaiser Permanente is joining forces with the mayors of some of the country's largest cities to combat homelessness and housing insecurity. 

The health system will invest $200 million in initiatives to improve access to affordable housing through a partnership with Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, it announced on Friday. Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson said at a press briefing that the investment reflects Kaiser's commitment to promoting total person and community health. 

"I'm always excited about giving away money," Tyson said, "but this is not a giveaway, this is an investment." 

Conference

2019 Drug Pricing and Reimbursement Stakeholder Summit

Given federal and state pricing requirements arising, press releases from industry leading pharma companies, and the new Drug Transparency Act, it is important to stay ahead of news headlines and anticipated requirements in order to hit company profit targets, maintain value to patients and promote strong, multi-beneficial relationships with manufacturers, providers, payers, and all other stakeholders within the pricing landscape. This conference will provide a platform to encourage a dialogue among such stakeholders in the pricing and reimbursement space so that they can receive a current state of the union regarding regulatory changes while providing actionable insights in anticipation of the future.
Bernard Tyson Kaiser Permanente
Bernard Tyson (Kaiser Permanente)

Tyson was joined at the briefing by mayors from Oakland, California; Alexandria, Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Baltimore. The investment will be used to establish a fund, but the health system hasn't yet determined which specific programs to invest in, said Bechara Choucair, M.D., Kaiser's senior vice president and chief community health officer.  

RELATED: Housing insecurity common among patients at community health centers, study finds 

Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, where Kaiser is based, said it's crucial for corporations to address unmet community needs, including housing insecurity. There is a mutual benefit for municipalities and companies since it provides resources that improve the overall workforce and quality of life. She pointed to a "tent city" of homeless residents located downtown that city officials are trying to house.

"A great city like Oakland should not look like that," Schaaf said. "A great country like America should not live like that." 

RELATED: Bronx hospital invests in low-income housing to improve public health 

Choucair said Kaiser Permanente is seeking to kick-start and participate in a national dialogue about homelessness and the other social determinants of health. As someone who worked in a healthcare for the homeless program as part of his medical training, Choucair said he's "seen firsthand the impact of housing on health." 

Tyson said Kaiser's size allows it to address big problems such as homelessness in ways that are scalable and could be adapted by others.  

"I can't imagine what it must feel like to put my head to the streets of America to go to sleep," Tyson said, "but I can imagine what it will feel like when we solve this problem for our country."

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