One of the most cost effective ways to improve the health of people experiencing homelessness is to house them. This sounds like a simple solution, but getting there is complex. Policy choices over the past 30 years have under-funded affordable housing and billing restrictions have limited what healthcare dollars can be used for. Changing the tide to house our most vulnerable people and improve their health requires new investment strategies from the healthcare system, and partnerships with housing and the public sector.
Across the Bay Area, communities have been exploring solutions to the unfolding crisis of increasing homelessness while striving to provide better care for this hard to reach, expensive to care for population. Health and housing funders are approaching the problem from many angles: collaborations to start a regional housing trust, policy and systems change in the public sector, power building in communities, and using nonprofit hospitals’ community benefits for housing. To make a significant impact on the issue, the healthcare and housing sectors will need strong partnerships and a systems level approach to spread successful ideas.
Join us as we learn about the connection between housing and health, building cross sector relationships, promising projects in the region and the country, and philanthropy’s role as a catalyst for advancing health and well-being in our communities through housing.
About the Bay Area Health Funders Group (BAHFG)
Bay Area Health Funders Group gathers in common cause toward the well-being of our communities. Funders from a spectrum of interest areas identify shared concerns and areas where they can support each other’s priorities.
Network members fund critical health issues such as access and equity and also welcome partners making investments to help build healthy communities more broadly, including nutritious foods, early childhood education, family services and environmental health.
Joshua Bamberger, MD, MPHL, Associate Clinical Professor, Family & Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Joshua Bamberger, MD, MPH has been working for the San Francisco Department of Public Health caring for people living with homelessness since 1991. During his time with DPH, Dr. Bamberger coordinated all medical and behavioral health services at the health department’s supportive housing programs which grew from one building in 1999 to 43 buildings today serving over 1750 tenants. In 2006, he helped establish the Housing and Urban Health Clinic the first integrated health clinic designed to serve people in supportive housing. From August 2012 to January 2013, he was a Special Advisor to the Executive Director of the United States Interagency on Homelessness, the Federal government’s homeless policy agency. Presently, he is the lead local evaluator in San Francisco for the Social Innovation Fund supported randomized trial of housing targeting homeless high users of the healthcare system. He also is an attending physician at the Downtown VA health clinic. In addition, Dr. Bamberger is the Chief Medical Consultant for Mercy Housing assisting with policy to bridge the gap between housing and healthcare. Dr. Bamberger is the 2015 recipient of the Beverlee Myers Excellence in Public Health Leadership Award given annually by the California Department of Public Health. In 2017, Dr. Bamberger was selected as a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow. Dr. Bamberger is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and the Center for Excellence in Primary Care. He has been practicing family medicine with people living with poverty since 1989.
Melissa Jones, Executive Director, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative
Melissa has over 15 years of experience in non-profit management and municipal government, including work in the Bay Area’s large and small cities. Melissa’s work focuses on the intersection of social determinants of health, social inequity, and well-being. Melissa is an active community member in Oakland and also serves on the Association of Bay Area Government’s Regional Planning Committee, which advises on regional planning issues.
Before joining BARHII, Melissa served as Senior Program Officer at Boston Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where she launched and ran Boston LISC’s Resilient Communities, Resilient Families (RCRF) Initiative. The initiative works to ensure that residents of Boston’s Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan neighborhoods benefit from the rising tide of transit and other public investments. During her tenure, RCRF has engaged several thousand residents and non-profits in neighborhood planning. The program has invested millions dollars to fund affordable housing, leadership development, Family Financial Opportunity Center programs, and a local entrepreneurship pipeline program to ensure residents’ financial lives are improving. She was awarded the LISC’s President’s award in 2014 for her work on comprehensive community development.
Melissa has additional experience funding and implementing programs focused on community economic development, family financial stability, education, and civic empowerment. Specifically, she has served in youth empowerment organizations, as Program Specialist for the City of Alameda, and as Program Analyst for the City of Oakland’s Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. Early in her career, she served as Director of Professional Development for Partners in School Innovation where she trained staff to support school reform efforts in San Francisco Unified, San Jose Unified, and Oak Grove school district.
Rachel Metz, Director, Policy, Tipping Point Community
Rachel’s career has focused on improving the delivery of vital public services – from health care to early education – and has spanned the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Most recently, her work in Alameda County centered on expanding and improving health care for the low-income and uninsured. Rachel's expertise lies in bringing together multiple stakeholders – community-based organizations, the private sector, and all levels of government from federal to local – to foster greater collaboration and streamline delivery of services. Rachel received a bachelor's degree in economics and anthropology from the University of Michigan and a master's in public policy from the Goldman School at the University of California, Berkeley. If not trying to fit in a run or time with friends on the weekend, you will find Rachel on the soccer or baseball field watching her kids.