Kaiser Permanente has joined forces with the Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance to implement Built for Zero in the Marion-Polk county region.
Built for Zero is a national initiative of more than 70 cities and counties committed to ending chronic and veteran homelessness by using real-time data to improve performance, adopt proven best practices, and deploy existing resources more efficiently. Eleven participating communities have ended chronic or veteran homelessness, and more than 71,000 veterans and 42,000 chronically homeless Americans have been housed since January 2015 by communities in Built for Zero.
The Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance includes community leaders representing the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency; Marion County; Polk County; the cities of Independence, Keizer, Monmouth, and Salem; the Salem-Keizer School District (24J); the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments; Union Gospel Mission of Salem; and United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley. In addition, more than 50 local nonprofit, neighborhood, private, and government homeless services providers and advocates are participating through stakeholder forums.
In 2018, the Point-in-Time count found that more than 1,200 people experienced homelessness, with 31% defined as chronically homeless and 20% having served in the armed forces. Individuals with severe mental illness and chronic substance abuse comprised 25% of the total homeless population.
Jimmy Jones, Community Action director, said, “We appreciate Kaiser Permanente’s support in bringing this evidence-based initiative to the Marion-Polk region. We expect this initiative will make a significant difference for the people we see on our streets who struggle every day to find and stay in housing.”
Jennifer Jordan, Kaiser Permanente, said, “Safe, stable housing is essential to a person’s health. Kaiser Permanente is supporting efforts to end homelessness and expand access to affordable housing by making impact investments, catalyzing innovation through partnerships, and shaping public policy.”