ShelterCare, a private, non-profit human services agency, has received $600,000 from Kaiser Permanente and PeaceHealth to continue its transitional housing program for people with severe mental illness or medical conditions.
The Phoenix program provides up to six months of shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness and either substance abuse disorder, medical fragility or behavioral health diagnoses. The program’s goal is to connect some of Lane County’s most vulnerable residents with permanent housing and to improve their overall health.
In the first year of the Phoenix program, ShelterCare has assisted 36 people in transitioning from homelessness into safe temporary shelter. Eighteen of them have moved into permanent housing; more participants are nearing a similar move. All of the participants report that:
• They have been connected to a primary care professional and/or behavioral health care.
• All of them have seen an improvement in their current health.
• All of them have maintained or improved their living skills.
Kaiser Permanente and PeaceHealth jointly contributed a total of $595,000 in 2017 to help launch the Phoenix program. With the program’s first-year success, the two organizations have contributed another $300,000 each to support another 18 months of services.
“ShelterCare is part of Lane County’s planning groups for the systems of care addressing homelessness,” explained Susan Ban, executive director of ShelterCare. “We provide the Phoenix program as a bridge between vulnerability and stability. It provides flexible resources that fund creative, innovative and individually relevant solutions. Phoenix allows people who have fallen through the social network’s cracks to find a safe landing and enough time to rebuild their individual assets to be successful for the long-term. We are so grateful to Kaiser Permanente and PeaceHealth for recognizing that ‘cookie cutter’ programs are frequently not adequate to meet the unique needs of individuals and that stable housing is essential to improving health. Being able to directly put funds and staff resources where they are most impactful is life changing for our clients who have not been able to address these needs on their own or in more traditional programs. The Phoenix program is an amazing model of services with successful outcomes.”
“There’s a critical need in this community for affordable, safe, stable housing,” said Mary Kingston, chief executive, PeaceHealth Oregon.
“Good health starts where we live,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, president, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals of the Northwest. “We know that someone without stable housing is more likely to suffer from disease, chronic health conditions and even reduced life expectancy.”
Kingston added, “An investment in housing for our most vulnerable citizens is an investment in community health and wellness. Our collaboration with ShelterCare and Kaiser Permanente has helped people either secure stable housing or move closer to that goal. The Phoenix program has also connected each person with essential primary care or behavioral health care services. It is an honor to extend our funding for this very important and successful program to serve our community.”
Williams-Brinkley agreed, saying “We’re proud to continue this unique partnership with ShelterCare and PeaceHealth, which supports both mental and physical health for people during critical times of transition.”
Founded in 1970, ShelterCare is a private, nonprofit human-services agency directed by a board of community volunteers. ShelterCare offers a range of housing solutions combined with support services for vulnerable community members who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness. The organization strives to ensure everyone has access to stable, affordable housing and the support to live as fully and independently as possible. Prevention, outreach and housing services are complemented by behavioral health services and social service case management support to promote housing stability and personal well-being.