California Health Care and Homelessness Learning Community

The year-long statewide initiative promoted innovative approaches to improving health services for people experiencing homelessness


With more than 151,000 people living on the streets and in shelters, California’s homeless population is larger than that of any other state. People experiencing homelessness suffer from poorer health, have life expectancies 20 to 30 years shorter than that of the general population, and have less access to needed preventive, primary, and specialty health care services. The high prevalence of chronic physical health conditions, behavioral health needs, and acute and infectious illnesses in this population has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning Community

To address the challenges related to meeting the health care needs of people experiencing homelessness, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), with support from CHCF, launched the California Health Care and Homelessness Learning Community. The initiative brought together stakeholders from throughout California to learn from peers and experts across the nation about innovative approaches to improve health services for homeless populations.

See map below for participating organizations and locations in the Learning Community.

Over 12 months, the learning community:

  • Supported a shared platform for participants throughout California to learn from each other, stay current on activities and approaches being tested and implemented, and foster opportunities to support the scale and spread of promising practices.
  • Identified collaboration and information-sharing opportunities at the local, regional, and state level.
  • Educated participants regarding policy levers and opportunities to address the health care needs of those experiencing homelessness under the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative and other state and national efforts.
  • Connected California stakeholders to relevant innovations and experts elsewhere in the country to help accelerate the spread and uptake of promising approaches.
  • Identified high-priority areas for the field, for policymakers, and for philanthropy to focus on in subsequent years to meaningfully meet the health care needs of this population, in addition to key opportunities and levers for doing so.

CHCS distilled key lessons from the learning community and share emerging best practices with California stakeholders and a broad national audience to inform efforts nationally to improve health care for people experiencing homelessness. Phase 2 of the project, Partnerships for Action: The California Health Care & Homeless Learning Community, is now in process.

Participants

Use the map below to locate participating organizations and their service area. Hover over the icons to learn more about each organization.

The table below lists all learning community participants. Click on organization and key contact names for contact information and to learn more about these programs.