This was a year of endings and beginnings for The Health Trust. As we closed the book on the five-year initiatives launched in 2008 – Healthy Living, Healthy Aging and Healthy Communities – it was time to assess our accomplishments, survey the present state of health in Silicon Valley and make reasoned decisions about how to advance wellness over the next five years.
Looking back, it is gratifying to see the impact we have had. Our campaign to make fresh produce more available to low-income residents posted significant gains. The City of San Jose adopted policies making it possible to open small farmers’ markets and allowing mobile vending of whole fresh fruits and vegetables. And we laid the groundwork for a new effort to encourage corner stores to stock fresh produce and healthy snacks.
The Health Trust provided crucial leadership and advocacy in the interests of older adults. When changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act raised concerns among some low-income seniors about their health care, we engaged local stakeholders in a pilot program to enroll nearly 30,000 older adults who had been covered by both Medicare and MediCal into managed care plans.
FY 2013 also brought important developments in our work in oral health. The Santa Clara Valley Water District board approved capital spending to fluoridate its three water treatment plants after The Health Trust, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and the California Dental Association Foundation pledged $2.4 million toward the project. In June, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of The Health Trust Children’s Dental Center in East San Jose. Today, with two centers, we are the largest provider of dental care to low-income children in the county.
This was a critical year in advancing the goal of ending chronic homelessness in Santa Clara County. Destination: Home, a program of The Health Trust, requested an annual allocation from Santa Clara County’s Measure A funds to establish a permanent supportive housing fund, creating a pool for all existing housing resources within the County. The request included a new $4 million annual allocation for up to 10 years. This major policy milestone will lead to the development of housing to meet the needs of those in our community with extremely low incomes or special needs. It also laid the groundwork for developing countywide rapid rehousing strategies targeting families and youth.
As we look ahead to the next five years, we know our work is not done. We will be taking on new strategies and finding ways to continue to do our work more effectively. As always, we appreciate the essential support of our donors, volunteers, staff and partners. Together we will strive to make Silicon Valley the healthiest region in America – not just for the affluent, but for everyone.