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Kaiser Invests Over $4Million to Combat Homelessness in SoCal

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — 

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Artist’s rendering of the Angel Apartments, part of Kaiser Permanente’s $4.3 million investment in SoCal’s homeless solution (photo courtesy of Kaiser Permanente)

By Jennifer Bihm

Kaiser Permanente officials are aiming to become a part of the homeless solution in Southern California with a $4.3 million grant to Los Angeles and San Diego for more affordable and secure homes. Those counties, officials said, have the highest rates of homeless with the least affordable housing. The grant will help to create and preserve 75 affordable and/or permanent supportive housing units in the two areas.

“Stable, affordable housing is essential to a person’s health,” said John Yamamoto, vice president of Community Health and Government Relations at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

“Yet, many of the communities we serve are grappling with high rates of housing insecurity and homelessness. These efforts are designed to help change that.”

“Health problems among homeless persons result from various factors, such as barriers to care, lack of access to adequate food and protection, and limited resources and social services,” according to medical experts at the Centers for Disease Control in Georgia.

“As each of these factors have legal underpinnings, legal and policy interventions have often been used to attempt to address homelessness, although not always from a public health perspective.”

But Kaiser officials said public health is the main perspective from which homelessness should be viewed. Lori Chatman, president of Enterprise Community Loan Fund, said the private capital investment is to support well-designed homes that are affordable and connected to health care, good jobs, schools and transit.

“As a social impact investor, Kaiser Permanente is investing to create better health outcomes for residents while earning a financial return,” she explained. “We hope that Kaiser Permanente’s investment will inspire even more socially minded investors to recognize the connection between positive health outcomes and a stable home.”

In Los Angeles, $1.1 million will be invested in a Los Angeles Family Housing development in the North Hills area of the San Fernando Valley, said Kaiser officials.

The Angel Apartments project will transform 22,260 square feet of underutilized commercial space into 53 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless residents, as well as chronically homeless veterans. The development will feature four residential floors and on-site support services that include intervention, education and employment assistance, substance abuse and health treatment, after-school academic support and community activities.

“We’re just getting started,” Yamamoto said. “The Los Angeles and San Diego projects are the first two investments aimed at reducing homelessness and supporting housing for health. We’re actively searching for future affordable housing projects and partnerships throughout Southern California.”

The $4.3 million dollar grant is part of the the recently created $100 million RxHome Fund. This fund is comprised of a $50 million loan from Kaiser Permanente to Enterprise Community Loan Fund, plus an additional $50 million in capital from ECLF.

“The goal of the RxHome Fund is to create and to preserve 3,250 healthy and affordable homes over the next decade in Kaiser Permanente’s service areas nationwide,” officials said.

A formerly homeless veteran called Michael, said he and others are grateful for Kaiser’s efforts to help alleviate homelessness. Housing, he said, is essential for stability and a better quality of life.

“Affordable and supportive housing is important for veterans,” he explained. “Veterans are likely to become chronically homeless because in military service, we learn to live in a harsh environment, have a higher tolerance for difficult situations and have a certain degree of pride. Coming back from service, it can often be difficult to adjust back into society, so having the support and resources to help us work through our experiences is extremely important. I appreciate the dedicated people who make affordable housing for veterans possible, because it shows that the community and the city do care about our needs and will do something to end homelessness for veterans.”

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

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EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, Focused on Clean Air and Water for Communities of Color

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The bipartisan infrastructure provides resources for our communities. There are matching grants and forgivable loans, which means more of our communities have an opportunity to compete for these grants,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan. “We are also making $50 million available for technical assistance to help our communities to become more competitive. I’ve written a letter to every governor in the country outlining the criteria by which we believe those resources should be spent.”
The post EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, Focused on Clean Air and Water for Communities of Color first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan remains on a journey to justice.

He said President Joe Biden’s historic bipartisan infrastructure bill provides an opportunity to finally rid America of poisonous lead pipes and free communities of color of the toxins that have polluted their neighborhoods for centuries.

“I’m the first Black man ever to lead this agency, the first to graduate from a historically Black college (North Carolina A&T) leading this agency,” said Regan, who made a special appearance on the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s live daily morning news program, “Let It Be Known.”

The program can be viewed on youtube.com/blackpressusatv, facebook.com/BlackPressUSA, and on Twitter @BlackPressUSA.

During a recent discussion with NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., Regan declared that the Biden-Harris administration is “passionate about the environment and public health.”

The bipartisan infrastructure law invests $3.5 billion in cleaning up superfund sites and addressing the nation’s legacy of pollution, he stated.

Regan said the law delivers more than $50 billion to EPA to improve America’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.

Further, it provides $15 billion to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) for Lead Service Line Replacement, $4 billion to the Drinking Water SRF for Emerging Contaminants, and $5 billion to Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Grants to address emerging contaminants.

“There are still 6 to 10 million lead services lines in cities and towns across the country, many in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods,” stated Regan, who also will appear later this year on PBS-TV’s “The Chavis Chronicles,” hosted by Dr. Chavis.

Because of the investments in the infrastructure law, millions of American families will no longer have to fear the harmful health effects caused by lead and other pollutants in their water, Regan asserted.

He recounted a visit to Lowndes County, Alabama, where he found disturbing facts about water in communities of color.

Regan said he witnessed homes with malfunctioning septic systems that discharged untreated sewage into backyards.

“Where little children play,” he added.

“There also was straight piping into lagoons and to have to see children walk around delicately so that they don’t sink or get bogged down into their own front yards. This is not the America that we all know it should be.”

He continued:

“This is unacceptable. Safe drinking water, safe sewer systems, you know, this is a basic right. These individuals deserve what every American deserves: clean water and a safe environment.”

On a visit to Wilkins Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, Regan recounted another difficult-to-stomach experience for young children of color.

City officials declared a citywide mandate to boil water as Regan arrived because of the discovery of toxic chemicals.

Regan said he had scheduled time to speak with second and third graders and found port-a-potties stationed outside the school.

“It looked like a worksite, and many of the kids had already been sent home because they couldn’t prepare food because of the water,” Regan remarked.

“This is on the heels of a pandemic. But the kids who remained behind were so excited because they got to see someone who looked like them in my position and someone who cared.”

Regan said in each location he visits, he’s sure to invite the national media to accurately report what’s going on in communities across the nation.

“The bipartisan infrastructure provides resources for our communities. There are matching grants and forgivable loans, which means more of our communities have an opportunity to compete for these grants,” he stated.

“We are also making $50 million available for technical assistance to help our communities to become more competitive. I’ve written a letter to every governor in the country outlining the criteria by which we believe those resources should be spent.”

Regan continued:

“I’ve traveled and met with mayors because a lot of this action starts at the ground level.”

Regan said he developed a passion for public service as a young person.

His father graduated from North Carolina A&T and served in Vietnam, working as an agricultural extension agent and with the national guard.

For 40 years, Regan’s mother worked as a nurse.

“I grew up with the desire to contribute to society because of what I saw in my home,” he exclaimed.

Regan studied environmental science and earth science.

Notably, he said Biden’s proposed 2023 budget request for EPA provides $11.9 billion to advance key priorities, including tackling the climate crisis, delivering environmental justice, protecting air quality, upgrading the nation’s aging water infrastructure, and rebuilding core functions at the Agency.

Regan said EPA continues to prioritize addressing climate change with the focus and resources the crisis demands.

“At EPA, we know both climate mitigation and adaptation are essential components of the strategy to reduce the threats and impact of climate change,” Regan said.

“We will invest in programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including an additional $100 million for air quality grants to states and tribes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a local and regional scale.”

Regan further acknowledged that the communities hardest hit by pollution and climate change are most often communities of color, indigenous communities, rural communities, and poor communities.

“For generations, many of these vulnerable communities have been overburdened with higher instances of polluted air, water, and land,” Regan said.

“This inequity of environmental protection is not just an environmental justice issue but also a civil rights concern. Neither an individual’s skin color nor the wealth of their zip code should determine whether they have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, or healthy environments in which their children can play.

“I am not afraid to enforce the laws on the books to make sure our children are breathing clean air.”

The post EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan, Focused on Clean Air and Water for Communities of Color first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Congressional Black Caucus Members Push Biden Administration on Advertising with Black Media

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The federal government spends billions of dollars a year in paid advertising. However, the federal government’s process for allocating advertising dollars fails to recognize and value the unique relationship that Black-owned media have with their audiences,” Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden. 
The post Congressional Black Caucus Members Push Biden Administration on Advertising with Black Media first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Four years after D.C. Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton publicly condemned federal agencies after a Government Accountability Office report revealed they spend very little of their advertising dollars with Black-owned media, another member of the Congressional Black Caucus has openly aired the concerns.

“The federal government spends billions of dollars a year in paid advertising. However, the federal government’s process for allocating advertising dollars fails to recognize and value the unique relationship that Black-owned media have with their audiences,” Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden.

Co-signed by Norton, Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), and 34 other members of Congress, the letter pointed out that the standard process for spending federal advertising dollars consists of giving a prime contract to a large White-owned advertising agency with the stipulation that the agency includes a multicultural agency as a subcontractor.

“However, the prime contractor controls how much money goes to the subcontractor and how that subcontractor spends that money,” Johnson wrote.

“This routinely results in a smaller fraction of federal dollars going to the subcontractors. And, when the subcontractor does get to spend money, it is usually directed to spend that money with Black-targeted media and not with Black-owned media.”

He asserted that “successful Black businesses hire and promote Black Americans at a much higher rate than other businesses. They are, consequently, the key to building successful Black communities.”

In 2018, Norton commissioned a GAO report that revealed that the federal government spent more than $5 billion on advertising over five years. Still, Black-owned businesses received only $51 million, or 1.02 percent of those funds.

“I will work with minority publishers to press [my colleagues] in Congress to demand greater spending on minority-owned outlets to reach minority audiences that most traditional outlets do not,” Norton stated during a 2018 news conference with members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association on Capitol Hill.

“The GAO report showed, as we expected, that the federal government has a long way to go to ensure equal opportunities for minority-owned news outlets,” Norton continued.

“As the nation’s largest advertiser, the federal government has an obligation to provide advertising opportunities to news outlets and media companies owned or published by people of color.”

In April, dozens of federal agencies launched plans for more equity to open federal programs to more people and reduce racial disparities caused by government decisions.

“Advancing equity is not a one-year project. It’s a generational commitment,” Biden stated. “These plans are an important step forward, reflecting the Biden Harris administration’s work to make the promise of America real for every American, and I mean every American.”

In the Johnson-led letter, members of Congress have issued a request for Biden Administration to investigate and report back complex data on “the process by which they grant advertising contracts, and how they oversee those contracts after they are granted.”

“The federal government spends billions of dollars a year in paid advertising. However, the federal government’s process for allocating advertising dollars fails to recognize and value the unique relationship that Black-owned media have with their audiences,” Johnson wrote.

Click here to read the letter.

The post Congressional Black Caucus Members Push Biden Administration on Advertising with Black Media first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Wells Fargo Championship, Food Rescue US Partnership Provides 9,000 Meals to Benefit Greater DMV

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Food Rescue US, a national nonprofit organization, counts as a leader in reducing both hunger and food waste in America by connecting the vast amount of healthy, fresh surplus food with the critical hunger demand.
The post Wells Fargo Championship, Food Rescue US Partnership Provides 9,000 Meals to Benefit Greater DMV first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Through a partnership between the Wells Fargo Championship, Food Rescue US, and Levy Restaurants, more than 10,000 pounds of surplus food was rescued during the Wells Fargo Championship held at TPC Potomac at Avenal Farm in Potomac, Maryland from May 5 to May 8.

In addition to the excess food, more than 3,000 pounds of beverages and 900 pounds of serverware were rescued.

Food Rescue US, a national nonprofit organization, counts as a leader in reducing both hunger and food waste in America by connecting the vast amount of healthy, fresh surplus food with the critical hunger demand.

Through the use of its proprietary web-based app, Food Rescue US engages volunteers to transfer excess fresh food from grocers, restaurants, and other sources to social service agencies that feed individuals and families who are food insecure.

By providing food that would otherwise be wasted and delivering it to the food insecure, Food Rescue US officials said their actions keep wasted food from ending up in landfills where it decomposes, creating methane gas that warms the planet.

The championships moved to the D.C. area this year because of a prior commitment at the tournament’s regular home in North Carolina.

During tournament week, officials reported more than 25 on-site volunteers collected, sorted, and delivered over 9,000 meals to five social service agencies across the DMV that serve their communities and support food insecure individuals and families.

“The Wells Fargo Championship brings together golf fans from all across the country for an exciting week of sport and leisure,” said Carol Shattuck, chief executive officer, Food Rescue US.

“Food is a major part of these events, and we are proud to partner with the Wells Fargo championship and Levy Restaurants to rescue their fresh surplus food and making sure it gets to those that need it most.”

In the past 20 years, the tournament, on behalf of Champions for Education, has distributed over $26 million and has raised awareness for numerous charitable foundations in the Charlotte area and in 2022 will do the same in the Washington DC area.

For more information about the Wells Fargo Championship, please visit www.wellsfargochampionship.com.

For more information about Food Rescue, visit www.foodrescue.us.

The post Wells Fargo Championship, Food Rescue US Partnership Provides 9,000 Meals to Benefit Greater DMV first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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