Kaiser Permanente Announces $600,000 to Strengthen COVID-19 Response for People Experiencing Homelessness
DENVER—Kaiser Permanente today announced a new, $600,000 contribution to 4 local nonprofit organizations focused on strengthening COVID-19 prevention and response for people experiencing homelessness. The 4 nonprofits include Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative, Pueblo Rescue Mission, Community Health Partnership in Colorado Springs, and United Way of Weld County.
This contribution will provide these nonprofits with additional resources needed to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 health crisis. This includes funding to increase capacity for COVID-19 testing, support for individuals in obtaining stable housing, and training opportunities for staff, including active symptom monitoring protocols.
“Our Colorado communities have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 and it’s clear people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity are at significant risk,” said Mike Ramseier, president for Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. “We are making this contribution at a critical time in our state as we work to prevent and control the spread of the virus.
The contribution from Kaiser Permanente will be divided equally among the 4 nonprofits, each receiving $150,000 over the next 12 months.
"We are incredibly grateful for the partnership of Kaiser Permanente, particularly in light of the pandemic,” said Matthew Meyer, executive director of Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. “This support will mean the difference between stability and instability for hundreds throughout our community. It will be what helps many become housed, and for countless others, it will be what ensures they remain safe. Ultimately, it will save lives."
Each nonprofit will use the funds in ways that best supports the unique needs of their individual communities including:
Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI)
MDHI has seen a 300 percent increase in requests for support through the housing stability flex fund since the start of the pandemic. The fund assists households affected by the pandemic. MDHI will use $100,000 to support the flex fund, ensuring housing stability for those affected by COVID-19 and ensuring access to health care. The remaining $50,000 will be provided to Denver-metro area shelters to cover COVID-19 response expenses including testing, PPE, and funding for staff who are monitoring symptoms.
Pueblo Rescue Mission
Pueblo Rescue Mission will use its portion of Kaiser Permanente’s contribution to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and respond to the needs of staff, volunteers, and people experiencing homelessness in the Pueblo community. Funds will be directed to increase testing capacity, promote additional staff training for active symptom monitoring among sheltered and unsheltered populations, enhance coordination between partner organizations, and ensure adequate PPE supplies are available.
Community Health Partnership in Colorado Springs (CHP)
CHP, on behalf of the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care, will use its $150,000 contribution to bolster efforts with the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) for the Homeless Isolation Shelter (HIS) and manage COVID-19 test tracking. The contribution will also be used to increase staff capacity for active symptom monitoring at six community partner shelters in the area, provide outreach to unsheltered individuals, increase access to PPE, and purchase COVID-19 testing supplies. CHP will also use part of its contribution to acquire Influenza and Pneumonia vaccines which will be administered at the same time anyone receives a COVID-19 test within its network of shelters.
United Way of Weld County
United Way of Weld County will spearhead work on behalf of the Northern Colorado Continuum of Care, using its $150,000 contribution to partner with Homeward Alliance in Larimer County to employ 2 new Resource Navigators who will work in the community to support people experiencing homelessness and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This $600,000 contribution is the latest move by the state’s largest nonprofit, integrated health system to address homelessness and improve health outcomes across the communities it serves. Recently, in partnership with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Kaiser Permanente provided $60,000 to Colorado-based nonprofits providing health care services to people experiencing homelessness in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was part of a $1 million contribution and partnership with the NHCHC to increase capacity for preventing and treating cases of COVID-19 within the nation’s homeless population.
In November 2019, Kaiser Permanente collaborated with Community Solutions and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing to provide $500,000 in community health funding for 5 local communities to join Denver in a community cohort, called Built for Zero, aimed at ending homelessness in their respective communities.