California has the largest number of people experiencing homelessness in the nation, with more than 151,000 individuals living on the streets and in shelters, including a disproportionate number of people of color. People experiencing homelessness have less access to necessary preventive, primary, and specialty health care services and they suffer from poorer health outcomes and lower life expectancy than the general population. The high prevalence of chronic physical health conditions, behavioral health needs, and acute and infectious illnesses has been exacerbated by the opioid epidemic and, in the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the launch of California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) in January 2022, the California Department of Health Care Services is focused on transforming health care delivery for high-need populations, including people experiencing homelessness. To address the challenges related to improving health care access for individuals experiencing homelessness, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), with support from the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), is launching Partnerships for Action: California Health Care & Homelessness Learning Collaborative. The two-year initiative will support partnerships between health care and homeless service organizations to pilot projects focused on improving care delivery for Californians experiencing homelessness.

The objectives of Partnerships for Action are to:

  • Build the capacity of health care organizations, managed care plans, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to collaborate on the creation of a more robust support network for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Foster peer-to-peer learning through virtual and in-person learning sessions, convenings, site visits, and affinity groups; and
  • Spread best practices related to health care and homelessness across California and nationally.

This initiative builds on the foundation set by CHCS and CHCF’s previous project, the California Health Care and Homelessness Learning Community, which enabled peer-to-peer learning between providers, managed care plan staff, and other key stakeholders in California.