ATLANTA—Multiple Atlanta health systems signed an unprecedented commitment to collectively address affordable housing during the December 11 meeting of the Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI).
“The housing-health connection has long been known to be important, and I am excited that Atlanta’s hospitals are embracing the growing body of research showing that patient health improves and health care costs can fall when health institutions invest in housing,” said Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, an ARHCI partner. “I look forward to ongoing collaboration among our Bank, these hospitals and the broader community to seek solutions to the region’s serious affordable housing challenges.”
In their public pledge, senior executives from the Grady Health System, Kaiser Permanente, Piedmont Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health System/Mercy Care, Care Source Georgia and WellStar Health System committed to leveraging their resources, influence and expertise to support affordable housing efforts across the region. These health systems will further explore ways to integrate health care services into affordable housing solutions, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes for patients, employees and the community at large.
“Addressing issues such as housing is part of the job of a health care system because it is at the core of patients’ health problems,” said John Haupert, CEO of Grady Health System. “If we address complex care using a patient-centered approach and surround the patient with the tools and the environment that will enable health and well-being on the front end, we can prevent costly, chronic health problems and expensive care needs on the back end.”
ARCHI, a program of Georgia State University’s Georgia Health Policy Center, works to align local resources and partners to address the root causes of health inequities in the metro Atlanta region. In 2019, ARCHI facilitated conversations among Atlanta’s health care organizations about the impact of poor or unstable housing on health, shared findings from models used in other regions of the country and convened the largest health systems in metro Atlanta to move to collective action.
“This agreement recognizes the importance of housing and other socioeconomic factors in driving well-being at the community level, and that many different organizations must work together to create significant, lasting impact,” said Georgia Health Policy Center CEO Karen Minyard. The Georgia Health Policy Center supports ARCHI in building significant partnerships that bring local health systems together.
Sarah Kirsch, executive director of the Urban Land Institute Atlanta and an ARCHI partner, added cross-sector collaboration will be critical to developing actionable solutions in funding to address housing affordability. “This is not something housing practitioners can tackle alone. We are thrilled to partner with area health systems to build healthy communities where people can afford to live.”