Six hospitals and health systems are stepping up their efforts to increase affordable housing in the regions they serve.

The hospitals and health systems are part of Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities (AIHC), an initiative launched by the Center for Community Investment (CCI) at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. AIHC is designed to help health institutions and their community partners deploy financial resources, land, and expertise to help create more healthy and equitable communities.

Participants and their regions of focus include Bon Secours Mercy Health System in Baltimore and Cincinnati; Boston Medical Center in Boston; Dignity Health in San Bernardino, Calif.; Kaiser Permanente in Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties; Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; and UPMC in Pittsburgh.

The AIHC initiative will not only include health system executives and staff but also representatives from local governments, affordable housing developers, foundations, community groups, and CDFIs.

“Hospitals and health systems can play an important role in creating robust community investment systems that reduce health inequities and help people thrive,” said Robin Hacke, executive director of CCI. “This initiative paves the way for hospitals to collaborate with new partners to unlock capital and address shortages of affordable homes in their regions. We’re excited to see what these leading health-care systems and hospitals will accomplish next.”

Several of the participants already have dramatically expanded their commitment to affordable housing. Kaiser Permanente announced a $200 million Thriving Communities Fund, with $5.2 million helping finance the acquisition of a 41-unit housing community in east Oakland, Calif. Nationwide Children’s Hospital has announced the creation of a $20 million fund to finance 170 multifamily units on Columbus’ South Side, and Dignity Health in San Bernardino is working with community partners and the state to leverage more than $20 million for a housing development that is expected to create hundreds of units of affordable and market-rate housing.

In addition, UPMC and UPMC Health Plan in Pittsburgh have invested millions of dollars over the past three years to spur the creation of affordable housing options for low- to moderate-income households.

Over the next two years, AIHC participants will develop and begin to execute a pipeline of affordable housing developments and work with community partners to advance long-term investment in affordable housing.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is providing support for the initiative. “Hospitals and health systems are uniquely positioned in their communities to influence health far beyond their four walls,” said Don Schwarz, a pediatrician and senior vice president of program at the foundation. “We’re excited to see these leading-edge hospitals and their partners work to improve health by expanding affordable housing and creating new investment pipelines that will light the path for other health institutions to follow suit.”