The spaces and places where people live and work significantly impact how long and how well they live. When communities lack affordable housing, access to fresh food, safe places to walk, and other basic necessities, residents suffer from stress, chronic disease and lower life expectancy. In many places, the community investment system lacks the capacity to produce the level and type of investment needed to improve these conditions. Hospitals and health systems have an array of assets—financial resources, land, and expertise—that can be harnessed to create more equitable, sustainable, and healthy communities that contribute to better health outcomes.
In January of 2018, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Center for Community Investment (CCI) launched an initiative, Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities (AIHC), designed to increase health system investments in upstream determinants of health, with an emphasis on affordable housing. Eight nonprofit health institutions that were already investing outside their walls were selected to participate in Phase I of AIHC.
The systems and their target geographies included:
Bon Secours Health System (Baltimore, MD and Richmond, VA)
Boston Medical Center (Boston, MA)
Dignity Health (San Bernardino, CA)
Henry Ford Health System (Detroit, MI)
Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, CA)
Nationwide Children's Hospital (Columbus, OH)
ProMedica Health System (Toledo, OH)
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Erie, PA)
AIHC Phase II
Phase II of AIHC helps participating hospitals and health systems take the next steps to implement their affordable housing strategies. Over two years, institutions will partner with other stakeholders to generate, structure and implement new affordable housing projects in their communities while strengthening the enabling environment that makes such investments possible.
As a result of the program, we hope teams will:
- Identify and develop a pipeline of affordable housing projects to address high priority community needs
- Build partnerships with key stakeholders and ensure that the voices of those most affected by health inequities help to shape the priorities for action
- Complete predevelopment and planning activities, in partnership with key implementation partners, to help lay the groundwork for catalytic projects
- Leverage their own commitments to catalyze resources from other parties
- Strengthen the enabling environment in which deals and projects take place by advocating for changes in policies and resource flows, overcoming barriers to progress and addressing gaps in capacity, relationships and data
- Share experiences across health systems to promote progress at the field level
- Contribute to making the case for how investment in affordable housing improves community health, reduces health inequity and benefits health institutions themselves.