The nation’s public housing authorities are seeking closer links to health insurers and medical care providers to address social determinants of health.
The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) says half of the nation’s public housing authorities are “pursuing health investments in housing.” Yet only 13% of large public housing authorities have “dedicated housing-health staff members,” research from the council and its partner, the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation, shows. “Recent research shows that housing is both a social determinant of health and a platform for other services that improve life outcomes,” Council of Large Public Housing Authorities executive director Sunia Zaterman said. “What we’re learning from our members and the other public housing authorities that responded to our survey is that partnerships with the health care sector are the most effective way for public housing authorities to serve the health needs of their residents.” CLPHA has 67 members across the country including housing authorities in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago and cities throughout the U.S. The interest by public housing authorities in these new relationships comes as the nation’s largest health insurers including Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, Anthem, Humana and Cigna are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to address social determinants of health whether it be housing, medicine or even food to reduce health care costs. As one example, UnitedHealth has invested $384 million to help build 3,400 units of affordable housing in more than 16 states since 2011