Gulf Coast Housing Partnership – a 2020 winner of the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge led by Enterprise and Wells Fargo – is celebrating the opening of its first Health + Housing pilot development, H3C. The winning financing innovation uses investments provided by health care payors, including Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), to fund affordable homes connected to health care.
Known as H3C to align with the neighborhood’s long-standing core values – culture, community, commerce, and now health – the New Orleans development features an on-site community health-care clinic and 192 rental homes built to the National Green Building Standard.
"We have seen first-hand the impact that housing, whether positive or negative, has on someone's health outcomes," said GCHP President and CEO Kathy Laborde. "We hope that if we can quantify through our Health + Housing pilots, like H3C, that better housing leads to better health outcomes, health-care payors will be more inclined to invest in affordable housing."
Aetna, a CVS Health company, invested more than $26 million in H3C. The 210,000 square-foot development on the site of a former dairy facility in New Orleans’ Central City district is part of the ongoing revitalization of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Ninety-two of the apartments are reserved for residents 55 years of age or older, and features elements of design that facilitate aging in place. An on-site community health worker will help residents coordinate health and social services. H3C will also be the first multifamily building in Louisiana to be certified to FitWel building standards, a certification based on over a decade of research from the CDC on how the built environment impacts health.
The innovation targets funding gaps and health disparities in the Gulf South by bringing together housing and health-care partners at multiple levels, from capital investment to service provision, and tracking impact through data collection and analysis.
“Seeing H3C come to fruition is a true testament to the power of innovation,” said Enterprise Director of Programs Christi Smith. “Bringing quality health services into an affordable housing development is complex. Enterprise and Wells Fargo are proud to have supported the Health + Housing pilot project that will create a model for future developments, making both health services and an affordable home accessible for families and older adults.”
After winning the 2020 Breakthrough Challenge, GCHP said the grant dollars, national recognition, and access to a peer network were pivotal. That support propelled their Health + Housing innovation across the finish line. “Once we’ve demonstrated the impact that we know is possible, scale could be significant,” said GCHP Chief Capital Officer Kevin Krejci.
The Pearl, a second Health + Housing development, is set to open later this year in Jackson, Miss.