As part of a larger effort to address Oakland’s homeless crisis, the City of Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, and Operation Dignity today announced an effort to provide interim housing and support services to 50 residents of a homeless camp at Mosswood Park on Broadway in North Oakland.
Support for the residents of this encampment is the latest of many partnerships to meet the immediate needs of unsheltered people, as well as tackle the root causes of homelessness. Kaiser Permanente and Operation Dignity have committed to multiple efforts to address the Bay Area housing crisis, including financial support to the Community Cabins for homeless at Northgate Avenue and 27th Street. Programs have addressed housing the aging and homeless population in Oakland, supporting the Keep Oakland Housed homelessness prevention efforts, expanding transitional housing units, addressing public health and hygiene, eviction prevention, and legal support to keep individuals and families housed.
According to EveryOne Counts 2019 Homeless Count & Survey Report, Oakland’s homeless population rose 47% between 2017 and 2019, accounting for nearly half of Alameda County’s total homeless residents at a time when cities around the Bay Area are responding to the surge in homelessness.
“We need to act swiftly and with a sense of urgency to keep the residents and families of Oakland housed in the midst of the Bay Area housing crisis,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “This latest initiative with Operation Dignity and Kaiser Permanente is yet another example of how Oakland is working with our community partners to provide adequate housing and alleviate some of the economic and social burdens of homelessness.”
As part of the agreement, Kaiser Permanente will provide funds to Operation Dignity to better identify and address the needs of the Mosswood Park homeless residents, including security, sanitation, and housing challenges. In turn, Operation Dignity will provide the residents with housing navigation support, one-on-one case management, funding for security officers, storage for belongings, and flexible subsidies to help with move-in expenses. To date, more than 30 former residents have received interim housing and support services.
“We cannot stand by as an increasing number of individuals and families find themselves calling the streets of Oakland their home,” said Janet Liang, regional president for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “Addressing homelessness is crucial to improving the health of the communities we serve. This is why we are investing in programs and services to address homelessness and the underlying social, economic, and health issues that contribute to the problem.”
Kaiser Permanente pledged $25 million earlier this month to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s fund to combat homelessness statewide. It also made an investment to preserve and produce affordable housing in Kaiser Permanente markets across the nation.
“Through our work with the City of Oakland and the contributions of Kaiser Permanente, our housing navigators are able to work with each encampment resident to determine the best affordable housing options,” said Marguerite Bachand, executive director of Operation Dignity. “Our housing navigators also connect residents to other services to support their housing stability, economic security, and well-being, including access to health care, food stamps, free or reduced meal programs, and employment and benefit support.”
About Operation Dignity
Operation Dignity has been on the front lines of fighting homelessness since 1993. We were founded that year by Alex McElree, a Vietnam War veteran. Alex struggled with addiction and homelessness, fearing that he had survived war only to die on the streets of Oakland. When Alex finally got back on his feet, he collected a few beds and started a shelter in a small Oakland house.
In the years since, Operation Dignity has grown to own three properties that provide shelter and housing to 100 veterans and their families on a given night (approximately 200 each year). We also partner with the cities of Oakland and Alameda to conduct mobile street outreach to more than 100 individuals who are homeless each day. Finally, we partner with affordable housing providers to offer supportive services to formerly homeless adults and children, helping them maintain their housing over the long term. https://operationdignity.org/
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic