Contact: Jacquelyn Jans
Bakersfield, CA: Kern Health Systems has secured more than $19 million of state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) incentive funds to address housing and homelessness issues in Kern County. Through an optional state subsidized program under the CalAIM Housing & Homelessness Incentive Program (HHIP), these non-Medi-Cal incentive funds were awarded to organizations across Kern County who were able to present a comprehensive, outcomes-based plan that would address the key contributing factors the unhoused and medically vulnerable individuals in our community face. Kern Health Systems, which administers Medi-Cal benefits through the Kern Family Health Care plan, is responsible for over #350,000 low-income members. “Through this investment, Kern Health Systems, in collaboration with provider and community-based organization partners, will work toward becoming a key partner in the creation of a coordinated and unified regional response to prevent and reduce homelessness. By addressing the basic housing needs of our membership, we will also be improving the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable members and our community” stated Emily Duran, Chief Executive Officer of Kern Health Systems.
HHIP’s primary focus is on reducing and preventing homelessness and delivering a variation of housing services that provide whole-person care and improve health accessibility. Community partner, Stacy Kuwahara, Director of Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (KBHRS) commented, “These funds will fill gaps in the continuum of care for adults, youth and families experiencing behavioral health challenges and homelessness who are traditionally not engaged. KBHRS will be able to expand its services, programs and outreach with many community (including rural) partners to truly make a difference with our homeless population”.
Kern Health Systems will partner with network providers and community-based organizations in support of housing and homelessness service delivery projects. These projects demonstrate a commitment to address inequities and disparities in homeless populations and achieve equitable provision of wrap-around services; particularly for marginalized communities, at-risk youth, older adults, underserved veterans, people with disabilities and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.
Community partner, Lauren Skidmore, Chief Executive Officer of The Open Door Network, said “Our commitment with this funding is to be innovative and compassionate when supporting those at risk of becoming homeless or those facing homelessness. We will support multiple sustainable projects that will literally ‘Open the Door’ for individuals who need access to safety, shelter, housing, case management, as well as mental and behavioral health services that are specific to the needs of homeless and those at risk of homelessness.”
About Kern Health Systems
Kern Health Systems, the County Health Authority, is an independent public agency that governs Kern Family Health Care, the Health Plan of more than #350,000 members. As a public entity, Kern Health Systems’ mission is dedicated to improving the health status of its members through an integrated managed health care delivery system.