UnitedHealth Group is making a $100 million investment in the Health & Housing Fund—a partnership with Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) and National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT).
This investment is expected to bring more than 1,000 new homes to older adults and families struggling with housing insecurity. In addition, UnitedHealth Group, with its UnitedHealthcare and Optum businesses, will provide another $1 million in grants to support on-site health-related services for residents. SAHF will measure, analyze, and report on property residents’ health outcomes.
“The connection between housing and health is undeniable, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increasingly brought this further to the forefront as an urgent need throughout the communities we serve,” says Heather Cianfrocco, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “Through our continued leadership and investments in affordable housing and support services, we are helping drive better health outcomes for some of the nation’s most underserved populations.”
The first three housing developments to be financed with the new fund are Anacostia Gardens in Washington, D.C., with 100 apartments developed by The NHP Foundation; Morning Star Apartments in Wharton, Texas, with 40 apartments developed by National Church Residences; and Bent Oak Village in Choctaw, Okla., with 30 apartments developed by Volunteers of America.
They are rehabilitation projects, but the low-income housing tax credit investment will also fund new construction deals, and all are committed to providing services in a meaningful way, according to Lori Little, president and CEO of NAHT, a nonprofit syndicator and consultant that raises equity from investors and directs the funds to nonprofit developers and owners who build, preserve, and manage quality affordable housing with a focus on improving residents’ lives.
Little estimates the fund will help finance about 15 affordable housing developments across the country. The fund participants are members of SAHF, a collaborative of 13 multistate leading nonprofit affordable housing providers that own more than 140,000 affordable rental homes.
“In addition to partnering with NAHT on capital solutions, SAHF promotes policy and practices that use affordable housing as a platform to improve lives and communities,” says Andrea Ponsor, CEO of SAHF.
As part of this effort, SAHF and its members have been working to measure and demonstrate the impact of providing housing-based services and support for residents in several areas, including education, health, income, and housing stability.
The new partnership is the latest creative step to connect the broader impacts of housing, according to Ponsor.
“Working together with UnitedHealth Group, together with our members we are building on our commitment to developing and operating affordable homes across the country that support improved health and well-being,” she says.
For UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), the latest investments are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to promote positive health outcomes through greater access to affordable housing. Since 2011, the company has helped build 80 new affordable housing developments with 4,500 new homes in 18 states for people in need of affordable housing supportive services. This additional $100 million investment brings the number of new homes UnitedHealth Group has helped build to 5,500.