Where we live — the place we lay our head at night — has a profound effect on everyday life. Yet 15 million people in the United States don’t have access to stable housing. Housing security may be a major factor in one’s health. If you don’t have a safe place to stay, it may be difficult to feel secure or manage your overall well-being.
In order to help address these needs, UnitedHealthcare recently announced an additional $100 million investment in affordable housing — which brings the company’s total contribution to $500 million.
The investment in the Health & Housing Fund, which partners with Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) and the National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT), will help build more than 1,000 new homes for families and seniors facing housing insecurity.
“The connection between housing and health is undeniable and the COVID-19 pandemic has increasingly brought this further to the forefront as an urgent need throughout the communities we serve,” said Heather Cianfrocco, chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “Through our continued leadership and investments in affordable housing and support services, we are helping drive better health outcomes for some of the nation’s most underserved populations.”
The initial three sites for the new housing units include:
- 100 apartments at Anacostia Gardens in Washington, D.C., developed by The NHP Foundation
- 40 apartments at Morningstar Apartments in Wharton, Texas, developed by National Churches Residences
- 30 apartments at Bent Oak Village in Choctaw, Oklahoma, developed by Volunteers of America
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“As the housing affordability crisis in the U.S. deepens, it affects the physical and mental health of millions,” said Lori Little, NAHT’s president and chief executive officer. “UnitedHealthcare is setting the standard for how health care and affordable housing will work together.”
An additional $1 million will be provided for on-site health and wellness services for residents, as well as routine check-ins and monitoring for those who use these services to assess the impact on their overall health.
Since 2011, the total investment of $500 million has helped build 80 new affordable housing developments and 4,500 new homes in 18 states — from Long Island to Milwaukee to Los Angeles.
The latest contribution is the largest single push to provide affordable housing to date. With 80 percent of a person’s health related to factors outside of a doctor’s office, addressing these needs may help lead to healthier communities, and healthier lives, across the country.