Health

The fourth installment of Shelterforce's Health and Community Development supplement.The health of individuals and the health of communities are linked in so many ways, from zoning to access to fresh food, safe housing, safe streets and parks, and proper medical care. How is this growing realization affecting practice for both community development organizations and health care organizations? What does it take for these two separate worlds to partner toward shared goals? Thanks to the Kresge and Robert Wood Johnson foundations, and Kaiser Permanente for supporting our health and communities coverage, and to our Health and Community Development Editorial Advisory Board for their guidance, knowledge, and insights. Click here to view and download a PDF of our health supplements.

woman in wheelchair approaches door of house

When a Renter with Disabilities is Denied Housing

Renters with disabilities are often unable to meet the kinds of admission criteria that landlords establish for their properties.

Building Healthy Housing Through Health Action Plans

A pilot program required CDCs to collaborate with public health professionals in order to discover—and address—a community’s pressing health issues. What the collaboration uncovered were issues that the participating CDCs hadn't even considered.
A liquor store in Baltimore.

Closing Liquor Stores, Hoping to Gain Public Health

A new code in Baltimore will reduce the number of liquor stores in the city. Will the change result in a drop in violence? What will happen to store owners?

Disaster Aid Perpetuates Inequality

After natural disasters, recovery efforts tend to lift up those who have resources to bounce back quickly, but cement poverty for those with modest means.
Several groups gather at the Bayou Bienvenue to rid the area of water hyacinths. Joint efforts like this help build neighborhood resilience.

NOLA Brings a Holistic Focus to Resilience

Cities cannot weather the effects of climate change without going beyond infrastructure to address institutional racism, historical inequities, and access to physical and mental health services.
Two women help a senior go up the stairs to her home. Like Project Sustained Legacy, the CAPABLE program helps seniors age in place.

Helping At-Risk Homeowners Stay Put With a Land Trust

For some homeowners at risk of losing their home, City of Lakes Community Land Trust has been able to keep them in place by bringing their home into the land trust.

Can Investing in a Community’s Growth Boost Health Outcomes?

ProMedica and LISC team up to fund place-based investments in the hope of improving health outcomes for residents. How do they do it?
An emergency entrance of a hospital.

Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of Health

While individual-level interventions are beneficial, characterizing them as efforts to address social determinants of health conveys a false sense of progress.
Dripping faucet.

The Connection Between Water, Justice, and Health

Our talk with Radhika Fox, the CEO of the US Water Alliance, about water justice and ways to build stronger communities.

Why We Must First Be Well Before We Can Do the Work of the...

An Alaskan collective's perspective on taking care of oneself can apply to organizations that work with communities that have experienced trauma. After all, organizations should make the mental and physical health of their staff a top priority, too.
A painting that reads "Walsh Community Grocery: Pulling Together We All Win."

Entrepreneurship as a Path to Health?

New partnerships between health funders and small-business lenders highlight another possible way to influence health.
An exterior view of Kensington Gardens, a 41-unit apartment building in East Oakland.

Putting Health Care Dollars to Work

Several organizations are working to coordinate health care investments in ways that will allow funding to truly boost community health.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar.

Medicaid Dollars for Housing?

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary says his department is exploring ideas to pay for non-health services like housing and nutrition with Medicaid, but it’s unclear whether that would, or could, actually happen.
A Childlike drawing of a yellow house with a multicolored roof, cactuses in front, and a tree with Christmas lights in front.

Housing Quality Is Key to Mental Health

Living in substandard housing affects your mental health as well, several studies have found.
bridge watercolor

Mental Health and Community Development

The community development and mental health fields have a critical opportunity to work together in supporting the mental health of low-income communities.
Arrowhead Grove in San Bernardino, California.

Hospital System Helps Housing Partners Unlock Capital

When plans to develop affordable housing units in San Bernardino hit a funding roadblock, Dignity Health committed a $1.2 million bridge loan to help fill the gap. But the health system didn’t stop there.
Seniors at a workshop on creating winter bird feeders

Vermont’s SASH Program Keeps Seniors in their Homes

The statewide program connects elderly residents with community-based services and saves money in urban areas by reducing emergency room and specialist visits.
Kids dance at a neighborhood street festival

What Happens When a CDC Pivots to a Health-First Focus?

Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation in Cleveland finds that being an early adopter of a community health focus has its advantages.
Avalon Trace was renamed Cottage Gardens after the 176-unit complex was sold to a new owner in 2018.

Condemning Asthma, Not Homes in North Carolina

An apartment complex in North Carolina generated 120 times as many hospital visits as would have been expected for its population, until a creative coalition forced its sale and worked with the new owner to change things.

Transforming Vacant Land Into Community Assets

Vacant land activities can be low cost and high impact; the price of failure is not steep, but the return on investment can be high.