Creating a Minnesota Healthcare Learning Cohort to advance upstream investment in social determinants of health and affordable housing.

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Greater Minnesota Housing Fund’s (GMHF’s) Housing & Health Equity Initiative (H&HE) today announced the launch of a Minnesota Healthcare Fellows Program starting in 2023. The application invitation to join this Minnesota Healthcare Learning Cohort was released today to healthcare institutions, leaders, and innovators interested in shifting more of their investments and practices to address social determinants of health (SDOH) through housing. The Minnesota Healthcare Learning Cohort will focus on ways to utilize investment resources to achieve both financial and social returns to impact community health, housing, and equity.

Greater Minnesota Housing Fund's logo.

Greater Minnesota Housing Fund’s logo.

This is the first and only state focused Healthcare Learning Cohort, replicating efforts at the national level like Center for Community Investment’s Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities Initiative. (The link is to the American Hospital Association Evaluation of the initiative). This year-long fellows program has been developed through partnerships between Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Minnesota Housing, and Center for Community Investment, a national leader in expanding community investment practices that link housing, health, and equity outcomes.

Research shows that 80% of health happens outside a doctor’s office or hospital, yet only 4% of healthcare resources in the healthcare system are used to address SDOH, like affordable housing and other social and economic factors.

Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, which finances affordable housing across Minnesota, has long believed that housing is the number one SDOH and has the largest health impacts. “We have seen through our work how a stable home is the key multiplier for outcomes that improve family and community health including education, income security, safety, connectivity, and even mental health,” says Warren Hanson, President, and CEO of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.

Jennifer Ho, Commissioner of Minnesota Housing, was an early adopter in building linkages with healthcare organizations in her many roles in the affordable housing field including her focus on homelessness solutions. Minnesota Housing views housing as the foundation for success. Commissioner Ho believes, “Healthcare institutions can be transformative partners when paired with housing. Together we can address the intertwined issues of housing, health and equity by working across silos and fostering innovation.”

The Housing and Health Equity Fellows Program will convene between six and eight healthcare institutions which nominate small teams of fellows to participate in the learning cohort. The Learning Cohort will be a neutral space for healthcare leaders to advance their innovative ideas and practical actions that live at the intersection of health, housing, and equity. According to Robin Hacke, Co-Founder of Center for Community Investment, “health institutions have the potential to be hugely valuable actors in the community investment system,” although “adoption of an investment strategy by health institutions is still at an early stage.”

In the wake of COVID and the racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, hospitals, and health systems around Minnesota and across the U.S. have shown increasing interest and actions to address SDOH and, in particular, housing and health equity has become a priority. The Minnesota Healthcare Learning cohort will have training, coaching, technical assistance, and other support to advance innovative practices around community investments that impact community health.

The group of Minnesota Healthcare Learning Cohort Fellows will be announced in February 2023 and meet throughout the year to advance their institutional visions, goals, and strategies in addressing SDOH through housing.

For Further information visit the GMHF website: https://gmhf.com/. Read about the Program Invitation on the program webpages: https://gmhf.com/health-fellows. And/or contact the director of the Housing & Health Equity Initiative at [email protected].

About Greater Minnesota Housing Fund: GMHF has over 25 years of experience in connecting affordable housing and health outcomes through financing of housing developments which have created and preserved over 18,000 units of affordable housing and 3,600 units of either permanent supportive housing (PSH) or services enriched housing (representing about 20% of all housing financed by GMHF). GMHF is also a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) which finances affordable housing and community development activities. GMHF created the Housing & Health Equity Initiative in 2021 to adapt to changing circumstances and create new partnerships across healthcare and housing to advance fields of practice in addressing SDOH.

About Center for Community Investment (CCI): CCI works to ensure all communities, especially those which have suffered from structural racism and policies that have left them economically and socially isolated, can unlock the capital they need to thrive. CCI has a well-established framework and approach which community partnerships can use to mobilize investment capital to create opportunities for affordable housing, jobs, fresh foods, and other drivers of economic well-being

About Minnesota Housing: Minnesota Housing is the state’s housing finance agency. For more than 50 years, they have worked to provide access to safe, decent, and affordable housing to build stronger communities across the state. In 2021, they distributed $1.92 billion in resources and served more than 93,504 households.

Greater Minnesota Housing Fund's Minnesota Housing & Health Equity logo.

Greater Minnesota Housing Fund’s Minnesota Housing & Health Equity logo.

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SOURCE Greater Minnesota Housing Fund

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