GRANT WINNER | HOUSING FINANCE

Gulf Coast Housing Partnership

Jackson, Mississippi | New Orleans, Louisiana

Health + Housing seeks to create groundbreaking value propositions for residents as well as health care insurers by demonstrating the benefits of investing in affordable housing at scale. The model aims to promote agency and equity by anchoring communities with access to affordable homes linked with culturally competent health care.

A group lined up with shovels and hard hats for a ground-breaking

GCHP is a New Orleans-based nonprofit that develops affordable homes and commercial properties. They have delivered transformational developments to people across a wide range of incomes for over 16 years.

GCHP is currently working with two of the largest health insurers in the country – Aetna, a CVS Health company, and UnitedHealthcare – on pilot Health + Housing developments in Jackson, Miss., and New Orleans.

A doctor and two medial professionals standing in a hallway talking
Mississippi State Senator John Horhn with Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center CEO Dr. Jasmin Chapman and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rosie Walker-McNair. The center will operate the Federally Qualified Health Center at The Pearl, a Health + Housing pilot site in Jackson, Miss.

THE CHALLENGE

Housing is a social determinant of health. But for many people, access to an affordable home is the greatest barrier to health and well-being. Communities of color have historically faced limited access to both housing and quality health care, resulting in stark disparities in overall health and life expectancy.

Affordable homes that are designed to promote health and are linked to culturally competent care can begin to erase those disparities. But many developers lack the necessary funding to build these homes. Health insurers recognize the value of affordable housing development but the system makes it difficult for them to invest directly in affordable housing.

SOLUTION: HEALTH + HOUSING

Health + Housing creates new financing options for health insurers, such as Medicaid managed care organizations, to build affordable homes with integrated health and social services. The result is a solution designed to address both funding gaps and health disparities facing communities across the Gulf South.

Health + Housing integrates these essential services in a mixed-use environment pairing housing with a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), removing barriers to preventive and medical care, while showing health insurers how their clients can benefit from readily available culturally competent care.

“The Breakthrough Challenge’s support and resources made our first two Health + Housing developments a reality. Once we’ve demonstrated the impact we know is possible, the scale could be significant.”
― Kevin Krejci, Gulf Coast Housing Partnership

GCHP has made significant progress on two Health + Housing pilot sites.

  • The Pearl in Jackson, Miss., whose financial supporters include UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi, will transform a long-vacant hotel into affordable rental homes for seniors. Culturally competent community health workers and an on-site clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) operated by Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, will anchor the development, which is currently under construction.
     
  • In New Orleans, Aetna, a CVS Health company, is among the financial partners supporting H3C. The mixed-use development will also feature an FQHC, directed by Ascension DePaul Community Health Center. The site broke ground in March 2022.
Two men standing on a construction site while one man points and the other is smiling
Mississippi State Senator John Horhn tours the construction site of The Pearl in Jackson with Michael Parnell, president and chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi.

IMPACT 

The Health + Housing innovation combines existing affordable housing financing tools, such as tax credits, with low-cost loans from health insurers who have financial incentives to improve health outcomes for their clients.
 
Through Health + Housing, the health insurers UnitedHealthcare and Aetna, a CVS Health company, have invested in a housing solution that will increase access to healthy, affordable homes and quality health care for residents in communities in New Orleans and Jackson, Miss. – and potentially beyond to other communities across the country.