Kaiser Permanente to invest in housing with $100M loan fund

Healthcare plans and providers are increasingly addressing social determinants of health that can impact patient outcomes and overall costs. Now, California-based Kaiser Permanente is looking at tackling housing insecurity with a $100 million loan fund for affordable housing.

In addition to the loan fund, Kaiser announced its commitment to end homelessness for more than 500 Oakland-area residents. The initiative is part of Kaiser’s comprehensive strategy to advance the economic, social and environmental conditions for health in the communities it serves. Kaiser is a major healthcare provider and not-for-profit health plan in California, with one of the highest customer satisfaction scores.

Kaiser Permanente CEO and Chairman Bernard J. Tyson announced the first investment from Kaiser’s $200 million Thriving Communities Fund. Through a new joint-equity fund between Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that focuses on affordable housing, and Kaiser Permanente, $5.2 million has been committed to acquire a 41-unit housing complex in East Oakland. The joint venture is called Housing for Health Fund. In addition to Enterprise, Kaiser is partnering with the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation on the project.

“Housing security is a crucial health issue for vulnerable populations,” Tyson said in a statement. “Access to affordable housing is a key component to Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve and to advance the economic, social and environmental conditions for health.”

Separately, the $100 million loan fund will create and preserve multifamily rental homes for low-income residents throughout Kaiser’s service areas. Enterprise matched Kaiser $50 million for the total $100 million investment fund.

“Collaborating with partners such as Kaiser Permanente and EBALDC, who also understand that home is at the foundation of health and well-being, will improve thousands of lives across the country,” Laurel Blatchford, president of Enterprise, said in a statement.

Kaiser’s interest in improving housing conditions in its areas underscores the rising importance of addressing social determinants of health, including food insecurity, transportation barriers, and other socioeconomic factors.