Kaiser Permanente is providing a $1 million grant to support Denver’s housing and homelessness agency.
Kaiser’s National Community Benefit Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation will be dispersed over two years to help the city’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST) curb the spread of the coronavirus among people experiencing homelessness, as well as fund housing vouchers and day shelter services programs.
The contribution is pending approval by Denver City Council, which is expected to approve the grant agreement Monday evening.
Kaiser’s benefit fund was established in 2019, after Kaiser Permanente’s Colorado branch had discussions about contributing to a city fund to support homelessness and housing needs, Denverite reports.
“We’ve got a growing (homelessness) crisis not only across the country but in our home state,” Mike Ramseier, president of Kaiser Permanente in Colorado, told Denverite. “We quickly committed to the fund. And then the world changed.”
The fund provides bridge housing vouchers, expanded day shelter access, critical shelter improvements, and “enhanced onsite programs and services to better connect residents with permanent housing,” according to city documents.
The grant will provide respite and rapid rehousing assistance; quarantine and isolation of COVID-19 positive and exposed individuals experiencing homelessness; expanded testing and prioritizing testing of shelter staff and residents; contact tracing for all Denver metro area providers, “enabling more reliable identification of specific individuals experiencing homelessness;” and cleaning and sanitation of necessary supplies, “enabling better hygiene in Denver’s shelters.”