Housing Plus Health Adds Up to More Thriving Communities

Housing “an antidote for a variety of health issues, mental and physical”: 8 grants to fund projects that work across silos, promote health through stable, affordable #housing in #Chicago Tweet This

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Decent, affordable housing is a basic building block of community, playing an essential role in achieving positive outcomes for individuals and families.

And while shelter is a basic human need, it is often overlooked as we work to solve for other challenges a family or individual may face, such as poor health or health risks.

However, research shows that the absence of stable housing is a strong predictor of poor health outcomes:

  • Housing-insecure children experience high rates of fair and poor health and development delays.
  • Children exposed to unsafe and unclean homes experience greater emotional and behavioral problems.
  • 26% of individuals experiencing homelessness are living with a mental illness, as compared to only 4% of the general population.

We are continuing to find that housing can be an antidote for a variety of health issues, both mental and physical. However, despite these documented correlations, the integral relationship between housing and health and the partnerships needed to better link the two are often neglected.

This lack of coordination between the practitioners in health and housing is a missed opportunity for cost efficiencies and better outcomes. But more and more health systems and public health officials are beginning to look upstream at the social determinants of health—the social factors that lead to poor health outcomes.

We are continuing to find that housing can be an antidote for a variety of health issues, both mental and physical.

For this reason, the Trust created Housing+, a grant making strategy focused on supporting the partnerships necessary to work across traditional issue area silos to connect the benefits of quality, safe and permanent housing to a range of outcomes for residents. The goal of this grant making strategy is to grow a field of practice in the Chicago area that pulls from proven models across the country and tests new approaches that address the needs of local residents.

Starting in 2017, Housing+ has funded work across permanent housing and criminal justice, health and education. The Trust has now awarded a second round of Housing+Health grants. We are proud to support the following partnerships working at the critical intersection of Housing+Health:


September 2018 housing+health grants

  • Claretian Associates: Claretian Associates will partner with Chicago Family Health Center to collocate health and housing programs, along with a continuum of services to promote the health of low-income families and seniors in South Chicago.
  • Corporation for Supportive Housing: A Housing+ grant renewal, CSH will manage collaboration and implementation of the Chicago & Cook County Flexible Housing Pool to provide a scalable and sustainable housing intervention for people experiencing homelessness, complex health needs and criminal justice involvement.
  • Enterprise Community Partners: Enterprise will solidify a new investment strategy for health care institutions to invest in an equity fund that will link their investments to upstream determinants of health, including affordable housing production.
  • Heartland Alliance Health: A Housing+ grant renewal, the Health Neighborhood initiative seeks to improve interrelated health and housing outcomes and create new revenue and capacity through interdisciplinary, cross-company care coordination between Heartland Alliance Health and supportive housing providers.
  • Housing Opportunities for Women, Inc.: HOW will work with the Chicago Department of Public Health and Loyola University to maximize and evaluate health care coordination for pregnant and parenting mothers residing in supportive housing, a population that has acutely experienced the complex health impacts of homelessness.
  • Metropolitan Tenants Organization: A Housing+ grant renewal, MTO will continue to link health and housing by focusing on tenant housing conditions and the city’s building code inspections. This partnership will increase advocacy efforts for proactive inspections and increase community capacity to conduct home inspections.
  • Primo Center for Women and Children: Primo Center will create a system of care for homeless families, delivering integrated housing and healthcare that will result in stable housing, improved health outcomes and reductions in costlier services like emergency room visits.
  • University of Chicago Urban Labs: The Health Lab is partnering with the Boulevard to evaluate the impact of respite care on clients’ health, housing and criminal justice outcomes. The study will identify savings within each sector to build the financial case to scale the respite care model.