Enterprise’s Health Begins with Home to Harness the Power of Affordable Homes to Create Healthier Communities Nationwide

The initiative will deploy $250 million over five years to spur collaboration among health, housing and community development sectors.

COLUMBIA, Md. (January 24, 2019) – Enterprise Community Partners Inc. (Enterprise) today launched Health Begins with Home, a national initiative to harness the power of affordable homes to create healthier families and stronger communities. 

Working with a broad group of partners and guided by data-driven insights, Health Begins with Home will put $250 million to work over five years to promote health as a top priority in the development and preservation of affordable homes and to elevate homes as an essential tool for improving resident and community health. 

“Health Begins with Home highlights the next frontier in Enterprise’s work: fulfilling the potential of homes to improve the health of people and of entire communities,” said Laurel Blatchford, president, Enterprise Community Partners. “We’ve long seen the undeniable economic and environmental power of home. We know that bold, focused efforts can significantly improve outcomes, as we learned from how our Green Communities Criteria dramatically expanded development of green affordable housing.”

Health Begins with Home will involve cross-sector partnerships among health systems, health insurers, housing developers, policymakers, public health associations, community development organizations, social impact investors and foundations. 

The initiative focuses its efforts in four key areas:

  • Conducting research to learn and leverage the connection between quality, stable, affordable homes and healthier outcomes
  • Awarding grants to local nonprofits to fund housing and community health programs and to increase partnerships between housing and healthcare organizations
  • Providing technical assistance to leverage and align resources with opportunity, use data to strengthen decision making, lift up best practices and advance smart policies
  • Connecting capital from healthcare organizations, institutional investors and social impact funds to develop and preserve healthy, well-designed homes that are affordable.

The Enterprise-managed $85 million Housing for Health Fund serving the San Francisco Bay Area and a $100 million national loan fund, both announced jointly with Kaiser Permanente last week, are the types of pioneering investments Health Begins with Home aims to replicate in markets across the country. Each will invest over the next 10 years to preserve and to create affordable, healthy homes, with the loan fund concentrating on Kaiser Permanente’s service regions in eight states and the District of Columbia.

“By bringing together the health and housing sectors, Enterprise can be a catalyst for a seismic shift in the industry,” said Brian Rahmer, vice president, Health and Housing, Enterprise. “Our work with communities and partners is showing us how homes designed with health in mind and located in neighborhoods connected to quality health care, schools, jobs and transit can provide the foundation for better outcomes.” 

Health Begins with Home draws on Enterprise’s on-the-ground experience and its work in raising and investing capital to further connect health and housing: developing meaningful, sustainable partnerships; sharing  insights to improve the health of communities; advancing smart policies; exploring the link between stable housing and health care usage; and making a compelling, research-backed case for the relationship among neighborhood conditions, homes and health.

Health Begins with Home also benefits from the expertise of Enterprise’s Health Advisory Council, which is made up of nationally recognized experts who provide academic, clinical, public health and community development insights.

“Healthy homes lift up families. Healthy families lift up communities. Healthy communities support a more vibrant, opportunity-filled country,” Blatchford said.

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