Kaiser Permanente plans to double the size of its efforts to address housing instability with another $200 million, the integrated health system said Thursday.
Since the Thriving Communities Fund's inception in 2018, the initiative has preserved or produced more than 7,000 affordable housing units across the U.S. and is on track to hit 15,000 by 2025. Kaiser also worked with SDS Capital Group to create 1,800 supportive housing units in California using $50 million from its initial investment, the health system said in a news release.
Kaiser expects the additional financing influx will double the fund's impact, allowing it to create or preserve 30,000 affordable housing units before 2030. The new investment is part of a larger effort to address the impact of COVID-19 among underrepresented communities, including low-income and communities of color. Creating affordable housing is one way to make a positive difference, according to Steve Shivinsky, Kaiser Permanente national media relations director.
"There's a clear link between economic stress and poor health," he said. "We find that there is more opportunity for us to have a positive effect on the underlying health conditions and the future health of communities if we can find ways for them to be housed, fed and take care of their basic needs."
Other healthcare providers have also invested in the affordable housing market. Last year, ProMedica launched a statewide home improvement initiative in Ohio and University Hospital partnered with New Jersey's state government to build new housing for residents and patients.
But the investments haven't all panned out. Sanford Health sold its affordable housing portfolio in 2020, after losing close to $2 million a year operating 1,700 government-funded housing units across 40 different facilities.