Three Top Health Executives Challenge Other Seattle-area Business Leaders to Join in Tackling Homelessness
SEATTLE. — (May 15, 2019) — Three prominent health organizations headquartered in the Puget Sound region – Swedish Health Services, Providence St. Joseph Health and Premera Blue Cross – today announced that each organization would donate $5 million to Plymouth Housing to build more permanent, supportive housing and address chronic homelessness in the greater Seattle region.
The organizations’ senior leaders – Swedish CEO Dr. Guy Hudson, Providence St. Joseph Health President of Operations and Services Mike Butler, and Premera CEO and President Jeff Roe – unveiled the donations during an event held on the Swedish First Hill campus.
The combined $15 million gift represents a significant investment by local health organizations to address the homelessness crisis in Seattle and King County, according to Paul Lambros, CEO of Plymouth Housing. “While they recognize the complexities of homelessness, these health care leaders believe in working together to identify and invest in lasting housing solutions,” said Lambros. “We are creating permanent, supportive housing for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.”
All three health organizations have an established record of commitment to addressing the needs of people in the community who are experiencing homelessness. This donation to Plymouth Housing represents a significant increase in that commitment – and an investment in a nonprofit with a proven record of success. Ninety-three percent of Plymouth’s clients remain permanently housed, meaning they do not return to homelessness.
Premera Blue Cross CEO and President Jeff Roe said homelessness and health are inextricably linked. “Homelessness is a problem that affects everyone and everything in our region, and its impact on the community cannot be solved by operating in silos,” Roe said. “We must find long-term solutions to homelessness, which will reduce the overall cost of care by decreasing the reliance on emergency health care. In this time of economic transition, tackling homelessness in an effective and sustainable way requires collaboration from all sectors and industries.”
“Solving homelessness requires collaborative solutions that address the underlying causes of this crisis,” said Swedish CEO Dr. Guy Hudson. “Swedish has a long history of collaboration with local organizations to address the needs of our community and improve the health and well-being of everyone we serve. We are proud to support Plymouth Housing in its critical work to operate safe, quality and stable housing, which has a profound impact on the lives of many people struggling with housing insecurity.”
“There is growing awareness within the health care community of the vital intersection between housing and health,” said Mike Butler, president of operations and services at Providence St. Joseph Health. “Those who experience homelessness often suffer from chronic physical and mental health conditions at higher rates, and face added barriers to receiving care. With the proper support and structures in place – beginning with permanent housing and supplemental health services – we create a more manageable pathway for people facing chronic homelessness.”
To reinforce the need to come together as a business community to address the homelessness challenge, the three executives called on other business leaders across all sectors in greater Seattle to follow their lead. Together, they issued a challenge to other local business leaders to support efforts to address homelessness in meaningful and effective ways, including time, talents and financial resources.
This gift is one piece of a broader commitment from all three organizations to address homelessness.
Plymouth Housing’s mission is to eliminate homelessness and address its causes by preserving, developing and operating safe, quality, supportive housing and by providing adults experiencing homelessness with opportunities to stabilize and improve their lives. Founded in 1980, Plymouth Housing has been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally for their comprehensive approach to supporting those who face chronic homelessness with both permanent housing and supportive services. Plymouth owns and operates 14 buildings with 1,050 apartments in Seattle.
Founded in 1910, Swedish is the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is composed of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and a network of more than 100 primary care and specialty-care clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. In 2018, Swedish provided more than $237 million in community benefit programs, including $23.8 million in free and discounted care in Western Washington.
Providence St. Joseph Health is a national, not-for-profit health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 51 hospitals, 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 119,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington, with system offices based in Renton, Washington, and Irvine, California.
Premera Blue Cross, a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to approximately 2 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.
Brie AdderleyNyhus Communications for Swedish, Providence St. Joseph Health and Premera