Model & Strategy

The Problem
An estimated 500,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness each night, and 25% of those are chronically homeless. These individuals are at dramatically higher risk of poor health outcomes and early mortality, and they are the most difficult people to reach with social services. If they remain unhoused, these individuals will also drive a considerable amount of health spending — 50% of Medicaid expenditures are driven by the sickest 5% of patients. The solution is to get them support to meet their basic needs and eventually into housing, but interventions like this are expensive, complex, and challenging to sustain. Healthcare payors and providers have resources to devote to addressing these challenges but do not have a presence in the community or the tools they need to support these individuals.

The Solution
Samaritan works with healthcare payors and providers to find unhoused members and give them the support they need to get housing and stay healthy. Through a technology platform that coordinates the inputs of community organizations, individual community members, and philanthropy, Samaritan ensures unhoused individuals have the care they need and the social and financial support to meet their basic needs. They provide a mix of conditional and unconditional cash payments to help and incentivize their unhoused members to reach specific goals in improving their health. By doing this, they reduce emergency room utilization, costs to payors and providers, and improve quality metrics that determine Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates.

An unsheltered member receives a Samaritan Membership from a nonprofit conducting street outreach. They receive a smart wallet and share their immediate needs with the outreach worker. From there, the member begins receiving funds from organizations and individuals in the community. The member can earn bonuses for taking action steps towards stability (meeting monthly with a housing navigator or attending job training). Finally, the member can receive messages of support to combat the invisibility and lack of dignity they may feel as an individual experiencing homelessness.

Samaritan’s support platform has enabled over 1,600 Members to take steps toward housing, income, and health goals throughout Seattle, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Louisville, and more. Their solution is trauma-informed, capital-efficient, and scalable. By 2031, Samaritan will help more than 100,000 Samaritan Members across North America.

At a Glance
Founded: 2016
Founder & CEO: Jonathan Kumar
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast, West Coast, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast, South Central
Seattle, WA
Help people find their way home.
Meet Jonathan Kumar

Born to immigrant parents in poverty, Jonathan and his family quickly learned the need for having a team of supporters. Later, Jonathan received an opportunity to study at the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in UX Design. After producing a documentary on social change (“Talim” on Amazon), he developed a tool for restaurants to convert potential food waste into funding for local food banks. He then created Samaritan, enabling people without a home to gain the social and financial capital needed to leave the street.


58% of Samaritan Members measurably improve access to care, critical utilities, and/or housing.

17% associated reduction in the public cost of care (hospital/ED, jail, shelter, etc.) for these members.

97% of members who receive over $1,000 in funds reach a life-changing housing, employment, or health outcome.