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$12M supportive-housing partnership aims for healthier communities

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The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency board on Thursday unanimously approved a $12 million investment in a new partnership with the New Jersey Hospital Association to develop supportive housing as a means to create healthier communities.

Under the joint initiative, HMFA’s investment will be matched by participating hospitals to create affordable, mixed-income or mixed-use housing developments on or near hospital properties, with supportive housing set-aside for high-utilizers of emergency department services.

The aim of the supportive housing is to address social determinants of health through a combination of housing, health care services and social supports.

The funding will allow HMFA to partner with up to four hospitals and health systems to develop local housing. Participating hospitals will match the HMFA’s funds with their own financial investment in their communities. HMFA will be the financer for this pilot and will determine the funded projects through an application process.

HMFA said they will begin seeking statements of interest from hospitals and health systems, with a goal of identifying projects in November.

NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett said the initiative positions New Jersey as a leader in creating a public-private partnership to address the social determinants that impact health.

“It’s hard to focus on filling your prescriptions or buying healthy foods when you don’t have stable housing,” said Bennett in a prepared statement. “We’ve seen a direct correlation between housing instability and health care impacts, including more frequent hospitalizations and longer hospital stays. There’s plenty of evidence that shows the profound impact of supportive housing on those health care challenges. And in a win-win for communities, projects based on this model not only have improved health outcomes, but also have helped renew neighborhoods and stabilize property values.”

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