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Colorado communities launch effort to end homelessness in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Community Solutions, and Division of Housing

Five Colorado communities join Metro Denver as communities in Built for Zero
November 7, 2019

DENVER—Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Community Solutions, and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ (DOLA) Division of Housing (DOH) today announced the creation of a cohort designed to end chronic homelessness in Colorado. The newly announced cohort of Colorado communities includes metro Denver and five other local communities along the Front Range, mountain communities, and Western Slope.

“This is an exciting effort supporting local communities to create a continuum of housing-focused solutions all geared to make homelessness rare, brief and a one-time occurrence,” said Alison George, Director of the Division of Housing within the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

This new cohort is part of Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative which includes more than 70 communities across the country working to measurably and sustainably end chronic homelessness. The cohort is being supported through $500,000 in community health funding from Kaiser Permanente as part of the nonprofit health care organization’s national collaboration with Community Solutions.

Communities that are a part of Built for Zero will collaborate on building tailored plans to address homelessness in their specific community, adopt proven best practices, use data to improve homelessness plan performance, and share and deploy existing resources more efficiently.

“Built for Zero was built on an understanding that when communities come together, it is possible to create a future where homelessness is rare and brief,” said Melanie Lewis Dickerson, Portfolio Lead at Community Solutions. “We are thrilled that communities in Colorado are joining forces with each other and Built for Zero, Kaiser Permanente and the Division of Housing to make this shared vision a reality.”

Metro Denver joined the Built for Zero initiative in 2016 and now, five other Colorado communities have signed up. The new cohort of Colorado communities includes:

  • Metro Denver
  • Fremont County
  • Mesa County
  • El Paso County (Pikes Peak Community of Care)
  • Pitkin, Garfield, and Eagle counties
  • Larimer and Weld counties

“The link between housing and health is well-documented. With nearly 11,000 Coloradans experiencing homelessness each day, we know more must be done to improve the health of our communities. But we can’t do this alone,” said Mike Ramseier, president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “We are honored to partner with these local institutions and communities as we work collectively to end chronic homelessness.”

Kaiser Permanente is a mission-based nonprofit health plan, and this support is the latest example of the organization’s commitment to address the social factors that affect health outcomes, such as access to stable, secure, affordable housing. Last year Kaiser Permanente created the Thriving Communities Fund, a $200 million impact investment fund focused on addressing affordable housing and other factors that contribute to the homelessness and housing crisis.

In addition to the work being done in Colorado, Community Solutions has an impressive record including working with ten communities that have measurably and sustainably ended veteran homelessness. These communities include: Rockford, Ill.; Arlington, Va.; Montgomery County, Md.; Fort Myers, Fla.; Gulfport, Miss.; Riverside, Cali.; Norman, Okla.; Bergen County, N.J.; Abilene, Texas; and Lake County, Ill.

To learn more about Built for Zero or to join the initiative, please visit: joinbuiltforzero.org

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About Colorado Department of Local Affairs Division of Housing

The Division of Housing (DOH) partners with local communities to create housing opportunities for Coloradans who face the greatest challenges to accessing affordable, safe, and secure homes. DOH supports projects ranging from homelessness prevention to homeownership.

About Community Solutions

Community Solutions is a nonprofit that works to achieve a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. We lead Built for Zero, a movement of more than 70 communities across the country redefining what is possible in the movement to end homelessness. By harnessing the power of real-time, person-specific data and problem-solving skills from other sectors, more than half of those cities and counties have achieved reductions in the number of people experiencing chronic and veteran homelessness. Eleven of those communities have ended homelessness for a population by reaching a standard called Functional Zero. Learn more at. www.community.solutions

About Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, working to improve the lives and health of all Coloradans for 50 years. We are comprised of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and the Colorado Permanente Medical Group—one of the state’s largest medical groups with more than 1,200 physicians. We provide comprehensive care for our more than 640,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members through 31 medical offices across the state. We are also committed to our social mission and in 2018, proudly invested more than $141 million to community health programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit about.kaiserpermanente.org or follow us @kpcolorado or like us facebook.com/kpcolorado.

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