Sacramento to discuss part in Kaiser's $200 million investment to fight homelessness

Homeless in Sacramento

Sacramento Bee photographers found a few people willing to tell us why they are homeless.
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Sacramento Bee photographers found a few people willing to tell us why they are homeless.

Kaiser Permanente, the Oakland-based nonprofit health care provider, announced Friday a $200 million investment in affordable and supportive housing to prevent homelessness nationwide.

The specific projects and amount to be invested in the Sacramento region are still to be determined, a Kaiser Permanente spokesman said. Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he will meet with Kaiser officials later this week to discuss the plan.

The initial focus will be to fund programs that prevent displacement and homelessness in low- and middle-income households, the company said in a news release.

“Many of the communities we serve are grappling with some of the highest rates of housing insecurity and homelessness in the United States,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, chief community health officer for Kaiser Permanente, in the release. “As a family physician, I’ve provided medical care to the homeless, and have seen first-hand the impact that living without a home can have on someone’s health.”

According to a 2017 point-in-time count, there are 3,665 homeless people living in Sacramento County, most of them sleeping outside. Roughly a third reported experiencing chronic homelessness.

“Affordable housing will be a significant focus of Kaiser Permanente’s impact investing portfolio to generate housing stability and improve health outcomes,” said Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson in the news release.

The funding is provided through the company’s Thriving Community Fund, which is part of Kaiser Permanente’s overall portfolio. The funding for homeless programs is not a donation, and the company does “anticipate a financial return on our impact investments that protects the value of our contribution,” it said in a statement.

Kaiser Permanente also joined the Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, a group of government officials and business leaders focused on ensuring continued federal support for housing programs.

Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM

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