WASHINGTON – Innovative collaborations between health care providers and housing organizations focused on combating homelessness continue to improve health outcomes and lower costs, however regulatory and legal barriers remain, according to a new report released by the National Housing Conference (NHC).
The NHC report addresses how health outcomes improve when people have access to housing. This collaboration is set against the backdrop that many Americans are better able to manage chronic diseases when properly housed and health care costs are reduced as a result. Initiatives in Oregon, Tennessee, and Massachusetts are highlighted.
“Integrating health care and housing strategies for the most vulnerable populations can be a win-win for everyone, but it requires innovative and pro-active collaboration between organizations with different missions,” said NHC president and CEO David M. Dworkin.
The report, “Promising Health and Housing Collaborations,” highlights a variety of partnerships and programs between health and housing organizations. The report was funded by a grant by The Kresge Foundation. The report is available here.
At the most basic level, people experiencing homelessness are better able to manage chronic diseases like diabetes and AIDS when properly housed. Better management of chronic diseases leads to a reduction in the net cost of medical care, the report found. Living in unaffordable housing requires budget tradeoffs that can compromise medical care. Hospitals and taxpayers pay the ultimate financial price for the failure to manage acute and chronic care effectively. Against this backdrop, healthcare organizations are increasingly looking for ways to reduce medical claims and affordable housing stands out as ripe for investment. The opportunities for partnership and investment are as deep as the demand for affordable housing.
“We have to stop thinking of health care and housing for high risk, and for health care providers, high cost populations, as two different problems. They are inextricably linked. In addition to better coordination, more flexible interpretations of regulations are often required to ensure our efforts are more effective and efficient. We can leverage positive outcomes if we manage housing and health care holistically.”
About NHC: The National Housing Conference has been defending the American Home since 1931. We believe everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. NHC convenes and collaborates with our diverse membership and the broader housing and community development sectors to advance our policy, research and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state and local levels. Politically diverse and nonpartisan, NHC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. #OurAmericanHome @natlhousingconf