On March 12, 2020, the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) convened its members in Washington, D.C. for its second Housing for Health Policy Day, an event on Capitol Hill which saw Congressional staff, national healthcare associations, and housing advocacy groups attend a federal policy briefing about the impact of structural determinants of health and the universal need for stable, affordable, and healthy housing. 20 HAN member health systems participated in the event either in-person or virtually, and 22 health systems signed onto a Principles for Healthy and Affordable Housing document that was shared with Congressional members. Together, these health systems represent more than 600 hospitals in 39 states.
HAN members spoke powerfully about the connection between housing and health outcomes. Dr. Samuel Ross, Chief Community Health Officer with Bon Secours Mercy Health; Michellene Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer with RWJBarnabas Health; and Mikelle Moore, Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer with Intermountain Healthcare, presented on the work their health systems are leading to invest in housing in the communities they serve and the need for further funding of affordable housing programs.
Four Congressional members spoke about the need for affordable housing: Representative Jim McGovern; Representative Dwight Evans; Representative Jackie Walorski; and Representative Steve Stivers. They shared that HAN members’ advocacy work on the social determinants of health and breaking down silos is not only appreciated but encouraged.
Sarah Brundage, Senior Director of Public Policy for Enterprise Community Partners, spoke about the impact of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, while Katherine Brennan, Chief of Staff of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, provided a perspective on hospital and housing finance agency partnerships.
HAN members demonstrated that through our collective voice, and in our roles as locally rooted institutions, we can powerfully convey the necessity of a comprehensive approach to health and well-being. HAN members will continue to advocate for investments in housing throughout the Congressional session.