$125,000 grant to Homeless Resource Council of Sierras
ROSEVILLE, Calif., – Kaiser Permanente is supporting efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among those without permanent housing in Placer County with the goal of improving the overall health of the community.
Kaiser Permanente is providing a $125,000 grant to Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras (HRCS), a private non-profit partnership that ensures comprehensive, regional coordination of efforts and resources to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness or those at risk for homelessness.
The grant funding could help nearly 600 sheltered and unsheltered individuals.
This is one of 14 grants Kaiser Permanente recently awarded to nonprofits and government agencies in Northern California. Kaiser Permanente recognizes that individuals and families experiencing homelessness are at greater risk for COVID-19 because without a stable place to live, it’s nearly impossible to maintain good health.
“This support from Kaiser Permanente will allow shelter partners to adjust to the new COVID realities for sheltering people experiencing homelessness in the county. It’s really the goal to serve as many people as were served before the pandemic,” said Scott Thurmond, Continuum of Care Coordinator for Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras. “We want to ensure that people are able to be housed away from the streets, especially with the winter months. This allows for expanding capacity so that we can maximize the number of people we can serve.”
COVID-19 transmission prevention strategies
The grant will fund COVID-19 transmission prevention strategies at two shelter locations run by The Gathering Inn, as well as at the Stand Up Placer shelter, which serves domestic violence victims who are experiencing homelessness. The measures include installing plexiglass dividers between bunks, upgrading washer/dryer systems to limit transmission through used linens, and purchasing a new van to transport individuals with COVID-19. It will also support an outdoor handwashing station for unsheltered individuals at Auburn’s DeWitt Center.
The funding will also expand access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff at local shelters through a new mini-grant program and will allow for bulk-purchasing opportunities coordinated by HRCS, and cover technical supplies needed to transition to telehealth at Placer County’s only shelter for domestic violence victims.
“The pandemic has impacted our lives in countless ways, but for those experiencing homelessness, it has meant the challenge of finding places to isolate to help avoid contracting the virus” said Kim Menzel, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Roseville. “We are proud to support organizations that are serving the most vulnerable in our community with incredible skill and compassion during these challenging times.”
Affordable housing and homelessness are a significant focus for Kaiser Permanente because housing security is crucial for a person’s physical and mental health. In addition to the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras grant, Kaiser Permanente has taken significant steps to preserve affordable housing, prevent homelessness, and house vulnerable seniors in our Northern California communities including:
• Since 2019, making impact investments of nearly $35 million to support the purchase of 37 properties in Northern California, ensuring that some 3,300 units of housing in those buildings remains affordable.
• In 2020, committing $2 million to leverage a national partnership with Community Solutions and its Built for Zero initiative to end chronic homelessness in Sacramento.
• In 2020, investing $5 million to expand emergency shelter capacity in Sacramento. This is in addition to the $6 million previously given to address immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento
• Investing $25 million in Project Homekey, a statewide initiative to turn underutilized hotels and motels across the state into interim and permanent housing.