Samaritan: Helping The Unhoused Find Their Feet

New Investment: Samaritan is Supporting Unhoused People Reach Their Housing Goals

May 17, 2022

Acumen has invested in Samaritan, a digital social determinants of health (SDOH) platform that provides people without a home with the social and financial support needed to reach health and housing goals.

THE CHALLENGE: POOR HEALTH AMONG UNHOUSED POPULATIONS

While the unhoused population continues to increase year after year (more than 580 thousand experienced homelessness in 2020) and disproportionately affects BIPOC, it is also extremely challenging to reach and engage them and address their SDOH needs. As a result, they have a high rate of healthcare use, particularly emergency departments and inpatient visits, escalating costs and worsening outcomes.

THE INNOVATION: A PLATFORM TO SUPPORT THE UNHOUSED

The SDOH are the non-medical factors, like food and housing, that influence health outcomes. Samaritan has developed an innovative technology platform to reach, engage, support, and address SDOH needs for the homeless population. This solution can improve health outcomes and assist them in reaching stable housing while also reducing health costs associated with this population

Samaritan’s novel technology platform engages historically difficult-to-reach populations; helps them set SDOH goals; and provides the capital, incentives, and social support needed to reach these goals. The platform also leverages community-based organizations to onboard, and set goals, needs, and action steps for this population. Samaritan is one of the first companies to facilitate cash transfers for SDOH needs and could prove a compelling model for others to follow.

“Our primary outcome is unhoused individuals, improving their factors for better health and housing outcomes, Samaritan founder Jonathan Kumar explains, “and the secondary outcome is the cultural change of helping people realize the humanity behind situations of homelessness.”

WHY ACUMEN INVESTED: HELPING UNHOUSED POPULATIONS REACH HEALTH GOALS

Acumen invested in Samaritan due to the company’s potential to meaningfully improve the lives of the unhoused population as they have historically been challenging to engage given their complex background. Samaritan’s innovative solution has shown early signs of success and Acumen’s investment will help the company further validate its value proposition.  

“Based on evaluation of outcomes data from Samaritan’s pilot, their solution has improved at least one SDOH for 59% of members and 10% had a life-changing outcome, such as transitioning from unhoused to housed,” says Acumen America Director Amon Anderson. “Our investment in Samaritan will help the company take this work to scale across the country.”

Explore the systemic issues lying at the intersection of racial equity and health in Acumen America’s Where to Next Series

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