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In the News: Sacramento Bee Features Kenneth Lee's Story and the Work of Blue Shield of California's Community Health Advocates

Lee was homeless for years, but with the aid of Stuart Kosh and an innovative Blue Shield program, he found an apartment and the safety and security that comes with a home

On Oct. 5, we featured the story of Kenneth Lee and Blue Shield of California's initiative that featured health advocate Stuart Kosh. WIth Kosh's help, Lee went from homeless to a home in Galt, Calif.

Now the Sacramento Bee has expanded on the story.

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Kenneth Lee gets the keys to his new apartment

Stroke survivor Kenneth Lee struggled to get his diabetes under control while living out of a van for more than 10 years. Then something experimental happened: A community health advocate came on board at his doctor’s practice in Galt.

Within a few months, Lee said, he had a security deposit, an apartment and “a little village” with a range of services within walking distance.

“The doctor doesn’t necessarily have all the time in the world to meet and deal with all the intricate social issues that some of the patients have,” said Stuart Kosh, the community health advocate at Associated Family Physicians. “That’s why we’ve been brought on board. I have been working with Kenneth through this practice in Galt since November. It’s almost been a year.”

Blue Shield trained Kosh and about 20 other community health advocates and charged them with using technology and their own creativity to solve the social issues that often keep people from achieving good health.
Kosh is part of an innovative new program under Blue Shield's Health Reimagined initiative. 

What Kosh heard from Lee was that he’d put in an application at Galt Place Apartments two years earlier, but hadn’t been able to get off a wait list.

“We called together, and wouldn’t you know it, two weeks later, a spot opened up for Mr. Kenneth Lee,” Kosh said.

Still, there were many other hurdles to clear before Lee was able to move in March 3. They needed a down payment of $100. Fortunately, Lee had that much left over from his monthly disability check.

The next challenge, though, was too much for Lee. He would have to come up with a $550 security deposit at a time when the COVID-19 lockdown had shuttered the agency that typically would provide funds for it.

It was Kosh who floated the solution: How about a GoFundMe campaign?

Read the full story here and watch the video, here.