Sept. 20, 2018: N.J. Supportive Housing Initiative Gets $12 Million Boost

Partnership Between HMFA and Hospitals Recognizes Housing’s Relationship to Health

TRENTON – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Board today unanimously approved a $12 million investment in a new partnership with the New Jersey Hospital Association and its members to develop supportive housing as a pathway to healthier communities.

Under the joint initiative spearheaded by HMFA and NJHA, 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 a supportive housing set-aside targeting high utilizers of emergency department services. The supportive housing model aims to address social determinants of health through a combination of housing, healthcare services and social supports that help individuals and families live more stable lives.

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. NJHA serves the role of convener and is developing tools and resources to assist hospitals in evaluating needs and opportunities in their service areas and then establishing their development plan. Resources will address assessing capacity, assembling financing, selecting and securing a project site, working with municipalities and designing a supportive services plan, among others.

With the agency’s funding now committed, HMFA officials at today’s meeting said they will begin seeking statements of interest from hospitals and health systems, with a goal of identifying the selected projects in November.

Supportive housing projects can integrate services in a variety of novel models. An example from one successful project is a mixed-used complex for individuals with chronic health conditions that includes supportive housing combined with a medical home augmented with a visiting nurse practitioner. Other initiatives have incorporated services such as 24-hour crisis intervention, nutritional counselors and health navigators, along with partnerships with food pantries, after-school programs and fitness centers.

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 have a major impact on health.

“It’s hard to focus on filling your prescriptions or buying healthy foods when you don’t have stable housing,” said Bennett. “We’ve seen a direct correlation between housing instability and healthcare impacts, including more frequent hospitalizations and longer hospital stays. There’s plenty of evidence that shows the profound impact of supportive housing on those healthcare 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.”

According to the New York-based Corporation for Supportive Housing, a review of results averaged from 25 supportive housing projects from across the country revealed significant declines in healthcare utilization including:

  • 44 percent fewer emergency department visits
  • 39 percent fewer inpatient admissions
  • 45 percent fewer days spent in the hospital
  • 47 percent fewer detox visits
  • 34 percent fewer ambulance trips.