Homelessness: Our $15 million investment in affordable housing for the poor and vulnerable

May 20, 2019 Mike Butler

At Providence St. Joseph Health, we believe health is a human right. Everyone deserves the chance to live the healthiest life possible, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. But it’s not easy to take care of your health when you don’t have a safe place to call home. Chronic homelessness is a major barrier to health in every community we serve. That’s why we’re committed to partnering with others to invest in affordable, permanent housing for those who would otherwise be living on the streets.

This week, Providence St. Joseph Health, Swedish and Premera Blue Cross committed $5 million each – $15 million total – to Plymouth Housing, the largest provider of supportive housing in the City of Seattle, which has the third worst homelessness problem in the U.S.

The gift will support the development of three new apartment buildings that will serve 300 seniors and veterans. One of the complexes will be located across the street from Swedish’s First Hill campus and will be Seattle’s first affordable high rise in 50 years.

The Sisters of Providence and the Sisters of St. Joseph Health recognized the link between housing and health long before the term “social determinants of health” became a buzz word. Serving those who are homeless has been part of their ministry since their earliest days.  

We’re proud to partner with Plymouth Housing because they have a proven track record for success. Ninety-three percent of Plymouth’s clients remain permanently housed, meaning they do not return to homelessness. Plymouth has also demonstrated that by giving seniors and veterans who live in tents a permanent affordable place to live their health improves and the health care costs they incur decreases by 20 percent.  

This partnership is just the latest example of how we’re collaborating with others across the seven states we serve to end homelessness. We believe finding solutions to this vexing issue is a moral imperative. It’s vital to our vision of health for a better world, and we invite everyone in the community, including major employers and businesses across the Western U.S. to join the cause.

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