In 2022, Cedars-Sinai, HealthNet, and the California Community Foundation launched a philanthropic partnership to support a learning collaborative for 11 providers that serve the unhoused to receive capacity building, policy guidance, and other assistance to take advantage of the new CalAIM Community Supports (CS) housing services. Nonprofit Finance Fund engaged providers and provided capacity building and support to each organization to explore CalAIM and plan for their potential engagement in the Medi-Cal service model. Corporation for Supportive Housing is working on an advocacy agenda with the provider cohort as they experienced challenges and barriers during the process. The goal was for their learnings to inform current and future policy and advocacy discussions about the opportunities, challenges, and needs related to Community Supports to promote the highest quality of care for individuals and families who are at risk of becoming unhoused or who are already unhoused.

Nonprofit Finance Fund and California Community Foundation reflected on how to center the voices, experiences, and expertise of the CBOs who are intended to be key CalAIM partners, and how to improve the systems and policies that prevent CalAIM from realizing its full potential. This work includes advocacy on both state and local levels. As part of this effort, Nonprofit Finance Fund and California Community Foundation partnered with Corporation for Supportive Housing to engage LA homeless services providers in strategies that promote a future for CalAIM in which CBOs are recognized and compensated for the integral role they play in the transformed healthcare delivery system envisioned under CalAIM.

At the state level, such efforts, led by Corporation for Supportive Housing, include:

  • An advisory committee that includes people with lived experience of homelessness, service providers, and managed care plans and a project to standardize CalAIM tools, processes, and policies that all MCPs could adopt to¬†increase equity and access to housing-related Community Supports;
  • Elevating recommendations of specific actions the Department of Health Care Services could take to address shared challenges related to housing-related Community Supports through coordination of service provider voices; and
  • Working toward a Medi-Cal entitlement that offers ongoing and increased payment for evidence-based services, which would allow for the scaling of high-quality housing supports to serve more Medi-Cal beneficiaries as an entitlement that would offer federal funding contributions toward the costs of services.

The takeaway for funders is to keep our community-based organizations financially stable and able to expand services to meet the needs of the community. The lasting impact in health systems transformation calls for government and philanthropic funders to employ practices that are built on a foundation of trust in the organizations that work most closely with the communities being served.

Read the full article about supporting homeless providers by Brittney Daniel, Alex Chan, Eskedar Getahun, and Alexa Eggleston at Grantmakers in Health.