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Housing

A Healthcare Giant Enters the Battle for Cheaper Housing

Kaiser Permanente is pledging $200 million toward fighting homelessness and building more low-cost housing in eight states, plus D.C.
Homelessness is spiking in several high-cost West Coast cities, like Portland, Oregon.
Homelessness is spiking in several high-cost West Coast cities, like Portland, Oregon. Ted S. Warren/AP

Housing is healthcare. That’s a common refrain among leaders working on public health issues that range from substance abuse to food insecurity. Fighting poverty and homelessness, and treating the many negative health outcomes associated with living outside shelter, starts with helping people secure safe, affordable housing. It’s the bedrock tenet of the “housing first” movement.

This intersectional approach to public health can be witnessed in dozens of cities across the country. But the country as a whole has yet to develop the structures or resources to support or expand the most successful programs. That’s a goal for Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, a coalition that has partnered with the National League of Cities to push the federal government to answer the affordable housing crisis. The organization has several strategies in mind to put healthcare and housing to work to combat homelessness and chronic mental health challenges.