As part of its commitment to support affordable housing and homeless transition programs in Northern California, Kaiser Permanente announced 2 new grants of $1 million each to organizations in Oakland and Santa Rosa.
In the last year, Kaiser Permanente has committed over $30 million to house homeless residents and preserve affordability in Northern California as part of a multi-year effort to improve the health of the communities it serves.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa will use a $1-million grant to help fund an affordable housing and homeless services project in fire-ravaged Santa Rosa that is projected to house 1,300 homeless individuals each year, doubling the number it currently helps.
And in Oakland, the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation will use a $1-million grant over 4 years to help buy apartment buildings to preserve affordability and add social services for residents who live in them.
Housing Essential to Good Health
Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Managing Director Sherry Novick said the grants are critical for Bay Area housing markets where low-income residents are being displaced at an alarming rate.
“Having a roof over your head and access to social services are directly related to good health,” Novick said. “That’s why Kaiser Permanente is investing in programs like these to make a sustainable impact on the total health of our communities.”
In Santa Rosa, Catholic Charities is building a $115-million project called Caritas Village with 128 affordable housing units, a 40-bed post-hospitalization recuperation center for homeless residents, a new 40-room homeless shelter, and a homeless services center. The organization also will add 30 to 40 new staff members to help a growing homeless population in the area.
“We purchased the property in 2015 in the same block as our current building, thinking that we would just need to replace our family homeless shelter,” said Catholic Charities Chief Development Officer Rebecca Kendall. “Then the fires hit in 2017 and we knew immediately we needed to think bigger, and that the fires would be felt a long time in the community.”
A Sonoma County report released in July said 5,297 homes were lost in the fires and there are 21,725 temporarily housed individuals in danger of becoming homeless. Kaiser Permanente has committed $9.5 million to date to help Santa Rosa recover from the 2017 fires.
Preserving Affordable Housing in Oakland
The $1-million grant to the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) will help purchase apartment buildings in Oakland neighborhoods, said Jill Kunishima, director of development and communications. The grant comes on the heels of a separate $5.2 million Kaiser Permanente investment made in January, that enabled EBALDC to purchase an apartment building in Oakland’s San Antonio neighborhood.
Kunishima said EBALDC apartment buildings have on-site services that connect residents to culturally appropriate social services.
“The majority of our buildings have resident coordinators to help connect people to social services, such as after school homework programs, dental clinics, computer labs, and family resource centers,” said Kunishima. “We know there are many issues that affect a person’s health, such as access to health care, housing, public safety and social cohesion. And we know that Kaiser shares that view.”