Currently, many people who are chronically homeless regularly find themselves in emergency departments (EDs) for issues that could be avoided if they lived in adequate housing and had access to less-expensive community-based care. Although their immediate circumstances may be addressed in the ED, underlying health issues and long- term well-being are unattended, causing poor patient outcomes and unnecessary strains and costs throughout our healthcare network. And in many ways, like it or not, these poor outcomes and resulting perceptions are linked by society and our neighbors to the views they form around affordable housing.
Why a Reboot Now
We must reboot affordable housing now to accommodate the real, looming concerns of vulnerable people while increasing the overall efficiency of healthcare systems. Important as it has been, the business of affordable housing preservation and development has historically been somewhat parochial, with many aspects repetitively executed and resistant to change. Fortunately, that has begun to change. Revolutionary innovators from outside the industry are already impacting the next wave of affordable housing. Amazon has purchased a health insurer and is building one of its company headquarters next door to the nation’s largest low income housing project. Microsoft recently announced creation of a $500MM fund for affordable housing in Seattle and Facebook has joined the burgeoning movement, pledging $40MM to the new Partnership for the Bay Area’s Future, a $500MM fund for housing in the San Francisco area. These pledges followed on the heels of healthcare giant Kaiser-Permanente’s $200MM commitment to address housing stability and homelessness. We envision more forward-thinking companies stepping up to pledge funds as we embrace the opportunity to make real change. And the affordable housing industry needs to lead the way. We are uniquely equipped to leverage years of experience and expertise, as well as existing and future rental stock to help meet housing needs and overcome societal hurdles like healthcare. By doing so, we can unlock new sources of capital and increase affordable housing substantially.
What We Are Doing
NHPF is challenging traditional financial partners as well as those in healthcare and tech to work together with affordable housing developers to find creative ways to fund rental housing, backed by essential services, for those on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Responding to the warning signs, our 2018 NHPF Symposium sought to inspire attendees in healthcare, investment, policy, social services and housing development to deliver fresh ways for our industry to cement a leadership position, ensuring a healthy future for affordable housing and our residents. Ryan Moser, Vice President, Strategy & Impact at CSH, set the stage and tone with a presentation that harnessed crucial data to demonstrate the impact of housing on health. His data confirmed that adequate housing and access to critical mental and physical services—both residence-based and nearby—can dramatically alter healthcare outcomes. As Ryan pointed out, “High quality, affordable housing, with the right level of social supports helps people, communities and systems move from acute to prevention, from crisis to stability, and then grow and thrive.”
An Affordable Housing Reboot Will Improve Community Health
Powered by FlippingBook