For Victor Nelson, the deep connection between housing and health is personal. Last year, Nelson lost his job as a social worker, fell behind on his rent, and began living in his car. He joined the estimated 151,000 Californians who are homeless.
“I already had some underlying health issues, and I got really sick living in my car. I began to eat very little, I had trouble sleeping, and I was just wiped out mentally,” he said. “I drove myself to the emergency room and they found I had 2 blood clots on my lung and a kidney infection.”
Nelson contacted Alameda County’s 2-1-1 service and found housing through a Bay Area Community Services (BACS) program. In 2019, working with funding from Kaiser Permanente Northern California and support from Alameda County and the City of Oakland, BACS housed 515 formerly homeless Oakland seniors with a chronic health condition or disability.
This is groundbreaking and compassionate work on behalf of our senior residents. Kaiser Permanente has consistently shown up for Oakland and partnered to make our city a healthier community for all residents.” – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
Kaiser Permanente partnered with the San Francisco Foundation, the City of Oakland, BACS, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, and East Bay Community Law Center to launch Keep Oakland Housed in 2018. In its first 2 years of funding, the program helped keep an estimated 7,500 Oakland residents in housing.
“Our partnership with Kaiser Permanente in both the Oakland 515 and Keep Oakland Housed programs has been a game-changer in helping reduce the number of unhoused people in Oakland,” said Jamie Almanza, executive director, BACS. “It demonstrates that with resources, strong will, and vision we can end homelessness in our community.”