A prominent and growing body of research shows that health outcomes improve for people who have access to housing and that better management of chronic diseases leads to a reduction in the net cost of medical care.
Homeless persons are better able to manage chronic diseases like diabetes and AIDS when properly housed. Hospitals and taxpayers pay the ultimate financial price for the failure to manage acute and chronic care effectively. Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF) has noted the growing opportunity nationally and in Minnesota to align the supportive housing strategies of the housing sector with the emerging interest among the health sector in safe and stable housing as a social determinant of health. Both fields are motivated to learn more and coordinate efforts more fully.
Goals of the GMHF Health and Housing Initiative:
In support of the objectives of better health outcomes and stable homes for Minnesota’s more vulnerable residents, GMHF seeks to convene a community of interest among health care and housing fields that will lead to more strategic health and housing partnerships, including:
- Replicable health and housing pilot projects: Model housing developments linked to improved access to health care, and innovative partnerships between housing developers and health care providers;
- Increased strategic funding resources: Expanded access to public and private funding resources that support linkages between health care and affordable housing to support improved health outcomes;
- Creation of a Health and Housing Investment Fund: A health and housing investment fund to foster production of housing designed in partnership with health providers to improve resident health;
- System and policy advances: Policies at the state and local level, and support system change that will more effectively link housing and services to improve health and reduce costs;
- Documented learnings and research findings: Documentation on best practices, case studies and national models, as well as document the key findings from the Minnesota research process.
There are unique conditions that make this the right time to focus on Health and Housing, including:
- New state leadership & potential for greater alignment to address systemic issues
- Escalating health care costs and urgent needs for improved health outcomes
- A continuing housing Crisis and increasing homelessness statewide
- National trends of collaboration by health and housing organizations
History of GMHF’s Involvement in Healthy Housing:
Minnesota Green Communities
In 2005, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund launched Minnesota Green Communities, a collaborative partnership between GMHF, the Family Housing Fund and Enterprise. The partnership became a national model and resulted in the largest green building program in Minnesota.
Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and its Minnesota Green Communities partners have successfully integrated Green Communities criteria into affordable housing building and design standards statewide.