Kaiser Permanente in Southern California recently announced $6.5 million in grant funding to support efforts to end chronic homelessness among older adults by improving the homeless response system, testing new and innovative ways to prevent homelessness, and adding to the stock of affordable housing.
As part of Kaiser Permanente’s Housing for Health initiative, grants were awarded to the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and 8 other community organizations in Los Angeles County. Accounting for 25% of Los Angeles County’s unhoused population, older adults are forecast to be the fastest-growing age demographic through 2030, making this work more important than ever.
By receiving this grant, UWGLA will also be able to support recommendations contained in The Older Adult Strategy, a plan developed by their “Home for Good” division. The objective is to encourage funders, policymakers, and community advocates to collaborate on ways to end homelessness for aging adults.
Meeting needs of those facing homelessness
The plan has a strong focus on strengthening collaboration among various systems to create a holistic response that will better meet the needs of those facing homelessness. As a result of these initiatives, more opportunities will be available to assist in transitioning housing-insecure or recently unhoused older adults into stable housing by providing critical financial assistance. In addition, they will look at new ways to help older adults who were recently released from jail and have few resources for housing.
Kaiser Permanente recognizes that it’s nearly impossible to focus on basic health and medical needs without a safe place to call home. To that end, this funding will also support the building of several housing developments that will provide small-scale, long-term, safe, and affordable housing for many low-income populations, including the aging. The balance of support for the UWGLA will back the United Way and Genesis LA Affordable Housing Initiative, which will test new models of shared living with rental costs at $1,000 per unit.
Mission to end homelessness for older adults
This investment also includes a $500,000 cohort grant split between 8 Los Angeles organizations, with a unified mission to end homelessness for older adults. The organizations represent each of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health service planning areas to ensure flexible funding is available to help support the costs of moving people experiencing homelessness into housing throughout the county. The organizations include:
Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council
Baldwin Park Charitable Relief Foundation
Helping Hands Senior Foundation
Kingdom Causes Bellflower
Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County
Special Service for Groups, Inc.
St. Barnabas Senior Services
Healthy aging in supportive housing
The grant will expand opportunities to help housing-insecure or recently homeless older adults’ transition into stable housing by providing direct financial assistance to address their unique needs, challenges, and barriers. These flexible funds will be used for:
Transportation or other related services for the disabled
Relocation costs of personal belongings from encampment to housing
Adaptive medical equipment
Other costs associated with helping people age in place
“We are proud to join with our community partners to improve access to safe and affordable housing for older adults — a place where they can live and thrive,” said John Yamamoto, vice president, Community Health and Government Relations, Kaiser Permanente of Southern California.
For several years, Kaiser Permanente has led efforts to end homelessness and preserve affordable housing by making investments in affordable housing and economic opportunity, shaping policy, strengthening systems, and catalyzing innovation through partnerships. These grants are the latest in a series to help residents throughout the region receive vital support services that impact their overall health.