Housing & Health Equity Initiative (2023 Summary)

GMHF Annual Report 2023

The Housing & Health Equity Fellows Program

2023’s Housing and Health Equity (H&HE) work was centered on our H&HE Fellows Program. This fellowship focused on building transformational relationships with healthcare leaders statewide. In partnership with the Center for Community Investment and Minnesota Housing, we convened 30 fellows from six of the top ten healthcare systems in Minnesota. Fellows expanded their understanding of roles for their institutions and new avenues to advance affordable housing, bringing fresh perspectives back to their respective organizations.

Thank you to these organizations for being innovative partners with GMHF, creating new solutions to improve outcomes in housing and health equity:

2023 Program Activities & Accomplishments

  • Graduated the inaugural class of 30 H&HE Fellows.
  • Formed Healthcare for Housing Minnesota, a new group made up of fellows program graduates, to continue their collective learning and advance their work.
  • Drafted institutional plans for expanding health system roles in affordable housing.
  • Established National Partnerships with the Center for Community Investment (CCI), Neighborworks America, and the Build Health Places Network providing cross sector learning opportunities through training, technical assistance, sharing best practices and opportunities to grow impactful work.
  • Distributed Housing & Health Equity newsletters with stories, resources, and research of direct healthcare partnerships, innovative programs, and investment.
  • Identified and advanced new models and partnerships, including mixed use projects, and expanding Federally Qualified Health Clinics with affordable and supportive housing opportunities.

Healthcare for Housing Minnesota

Housing & Health Equity Fellows to continue their work in a new way

In 2023, Fellows were encouraged to create transformational work plans building on strengths and opportunities they identified in their organizations. In total, plans in discussion and seeking approval for action in the coming few years offer nearly $60M in potential projects and innovative ideas. To continue building this pipeline, fellows requested GMHF convene the group in 2024, forming a new coalition called Healthcare for Housing Minnesota.

In Minnesota, over 50% of renters are paying more than they can afford for their housing. To address the needs of cost-burdened communities, Healthcare for Housing will work to “convene healthcare institutions to advance housing stability as the most critical social determinant of health to achieve health equity.” Healthcare for Housing’s agenda includes:

  • Policy and Systems Work: serving as champions and a collective voice on housing and community investment in social determinants of health.
  • Shared Investment & Programs: connecting healthcare and housing partnership for advancing an affordable housing pipeline of projects.
  • Promoting Learning: continuing efforts to learn together and educate others on the critical role housing has on community health.

Transformational change is brewing

Transformational change takes time, but early signs show the impact of H&HE’s field-building work with the following actions occurring in 2023:

  • Allina Health made a $3M investment in GMHF’s Revolving Loan Fund, part of a $30M commitment toward community impact investing.
  • Essentia Health donated land for a mixed use project that will provide affordable senior housing with a childcare center in Duluth. This adds to their grantmaking and low-interest loans which advance other development projects near the downtown hospital Essentia completed in 2023.
  • CentraCare has taken on a convening and leadership role in the St. Cloud region pulling together a housing summit with counties, cities, and housing industry leaders to increase affordable housing production in that region.

Others are in various stages of exploring roles that include: using their credible influence, expanding as anchor institutions, growing capacity as advocates, and looking for powerful ways to use assets to create healthier and more equitable communities.

Project Example, Midwell Apartments, Minneapolis

Midwell Apartments is an 86-unit new construction development in the Phillips Neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Developed by Rueter Walton Development this project features 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units, with 11 units reserved for formerly homeless Minnesotans. All units rent at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI). Allina Health was a key partner for this project as part of their community impact strategy to improve social determinants of health (SDOH) through housing investment. This project is part of our Housing & Health Equity Initiative with a $3M investment from Allina.

GMHF Lending: Construction/Bridge Loan $6.8M, MEF Investment $10.2M
Total Cost: $27M

This post is part of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund 2023 Digital Annual Report. To see the full report, visit: gmhf.com/2023AR

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