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Aetna donates from the heart

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John Foley, CEO and Tahirih Kraft, Director of Housing Services, Sacramento Self-Help Housing receive Aetna Better Health of California’s Community Heart Award from Aaron Starfire, Lead Director Government Services, Aetna Better Health of California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Aetna recently acknowledged the local contributions of Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing by presenting each with Aetna Better Health of California’s Community Heart Award and a $25,000 donation.

Aetna Better Health of California’s Community Heart Award honors organizations and unsung heroes for their extraordinary work, service and contributions to positively affect California’s underserved communities. Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing received the awards for their dedication to providing unhoused individuals in the Sacramento area with care coordination and greater access to health care.

“We’re committed to positively impacting the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in the Sacramento area that need support,” said Kelly Munson, President, Aetna Medicaid. “Championing  community partners like Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing activates more personalized support and connected resources, which are critical to empowering those on a path to stability.”

Homelessness is a significant challenge for the community and is increasing. Research from California Steps Forward shows that approximately 12,000 people experienced homelessness in Sacramento in 2021.

“For decades, these organizations have focused on homelessness and targeted the social barriers to good health,” said Verne Brizendine, CEO of Aetna Better Health of California. “Aetna’s support is recognition of their commitment to driving understanding of a more complete picture of what those who experience homelessness are facing and doing something about it.”

Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing support populations in the Sacramento area:

  • Sacramento Covered helps connect people to health coverage, nutritious food, medical, dental and behavioral health providers, transportation to medical appointments, housing services, language interpreter services and other critical resources. Their Community Health Workers meet clients in homeless encampments, on the streets, in shelters, at hospitals, and in clients’ homes to provide intensive outreach and case management.“With Aetna Better Health’s donation, Sacramento Covered will be able to better support the housing needs of our clients experiencing homelessness,” said Kelly Bennett, CEO, Sacramento Covered. “This grant will augment our flexible housing fund we can use for client-identified needs like furniture, security deposits, rental application fees and other expenses that help move them into more stable housing situations.”
  • Sacramento Self-Help Housing assists individuals and families who have insufficient resources for affordable, safe and permanent housing. Their programs include permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, financial education, a tenant-landlord helpline, housing counseling and community development.“Homelessness is a big challenge for the Sacramento region,” said John Foley, CEO, Sacramento Self-Help Housing. “We have never seen so many unhoused people in Sacramento, and sadly many have significant health issues. Through this generous donation, we’ll be better able to tackle the challenge of homeless encampments, helping to relocate individuals living on the street or in tents to living with a roof over their head.”

Under its California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative, the state authorized Enhanced Care Management and 14 Community Support Services, including housing navigation and deposits, to address social determinants of health for people in need. Aetna Better Health of California is proud to provide Enhanced Care Management and was the first Managed Care Plan in California to offer all 14 Community Support Services to qualified Medi-Cal members.


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