CSH, panelists Dr. Joshua Bamberger, Associate Clinical Professor, Family & Community Medicine, UCSF, Daniel Field, ED, Community Health & External Affairs, Kaiser Permanente and Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner, NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development are among the loudest voices recommending data meaningful to each partner in the affordable housing equation. It will always be important to create studies that demonstrate both health impact and costs savings with rigorous evaluation; but data can’t be “one-size-fits-all.” Panelists advised making the numbers meaningful to decision-makers. When engaging with health systems and providers we all need to understand what success means to them. According to Kaiser-Permanente’s Dan Field, his organization’s recent housing and healthcare pledge would never have been made without solid research. Kaiser implemented a social needs inventory tool, YCLS (Your Current Life Situation), which went beyond questions focused on health, assessing all aspects of daily life. Kaiser found that 20% of respondents had one or more social nonmedical need—food, transportation, housing and that 9%, or 12,000 of those interviewed, reported some level of housing insecurity. Data like this tipped the scales for the healthcare giant looking to reduce both the cost and strain on resources including emergency room and jail visits. Investing in Service Partnerships and Delivery The panel agreed the coming affordable housing reboot must include significant investment in meaningful onsite or closely located resident services. Every affordable housing provider should be looking at how to develop the capacity to deliver ever- stronger resident support services to expand the range of people that can be successful in their housing, and build its own community connections, or partner with agencies that can. Additional funding sources and resources are needed. NHPF continues to expand and improve its “Health and Wellness” programs as an integral part of all the services we offer our residents. For its Strong Families Fund, CSH needed a partner to help design the metrics for these services and chose SAHF, whose SVP of Health and Housing, Kamillah Wood , MD, MPH, FAAP served on our panel discussion. Wood is a pediatrician who believes that affordable housing on its own will never improve health dramatically. Real, urgent change will only come about, she says, with the addition of strategic, hard-working services. Beyond onsite Resident Services that focus on academics, healthy lifestyle, and financial education, the panel also advocated for the development of partnerships with social service caseworkers, hospitals and local units of government. These partners can help affordable housing providers extend their reach and develop the most helpful services. Community Infrastructure Co-Development A critical step in the reboot is looking for ways that the affordable housing industry can enhance its solid reputation as a co-developer of infrastructure that supports community development and wellness. Creating physical infrastructure is the hallmark of the affordable housing industry. Those who create and preserve our nation’s housing have fine-tuned a methodology for working with tax credits, lenders, builders and other partners to bring projects to fruition on time and on budget. And this physical and human services infrastructure goes hand in hand in creating the backbone for strong and healthy communities. Here are a couple of examples of work in that direction.
Every affordable housing provider should be looking at how to develop the capacity to deliver ever-
stronger resident support services.
An Affordable Housing Reboot Will Improve Community Health
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