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.

Nine African-American women stand in a park with their fists raised.

Walking Warriors

When it comes to neighborhood-based health activity interventions, how they are carried out is often as important as what is offered.
Pogue’s Run Grocer Mural, an initiative of the Indy Food Co-op.

Done Right, Eliminating Food Deserts Result in Community Oases

While eliminating food deserts often involves resources from outside of the community, a neighborhood must maintain control of its assets and identity.

Forget Red and Blue States: Go Green for Better Jobs, Health, and Environment

How do you win an election in any red Southern state? If you are running as a senator, the conventional wisdom is you condemn government as an enemy of working families.
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.

Health Care Confronts Challenge to Shift from “Volume to Value”

Health care, as we all know, is a big business. U.S. hospitals alone have $782 billion in total annual expenditures, which is roughly five...
Chris Wilder, Valley Medical Center Foundation CEO, holds a sign that reads "Yes on A: Affordable Housing. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home." The initiative tied health and housing funding for county residents.

Housing Is Health: Ballot Initiatives in California Approved

A conversation with three county supervisors who were instrumental in moving affordable housing ballot measures forward in the California Bay Area by bringing in the health factor.

Rural Health Professionals Think Outside the Hospital

Could rural hospitals build on existing social services work by investing their assets to advance their communities' health? Examples from Kansas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Virginia show some possibilities.

A Health Insurer and a CDC Collaborate to Move the Needle on Housing and...

David Adame of Chicanos Por La Causa, and Joe Guadio of UnitedHealthcare talk about the value of addressing social determinants and lessons they’ve learned.

Better Living by Urban Restoration

It is the larger social and cultural environment of a home that creates health, not the housing unit considered on its own, concluded a...

Hey Housers, Health Folks Want to Talk to You Too!

  People in the affordable housing field have grown increasingly interested in talking about healthcare. Concepts like “housing as a platform” for health outcomes have become part of our professional lexicon and panel topics at our conferences. We talk a lot about the barriers to progress in aligning health and housing policy in this country. […]
A deteriorated Brownsville home.

There Is an Emergency at the Border. It’s Poverty.

Targeted investments that address persistent poverty are necessary and should supersede financial support of a border wall.
A map displaying the boundary of a neighborhood, with several green markers within the boundary and many other green markers outside of it.

Let’s Re-Place the Health Opportunity Maps

The way we map health opportunity has serious flaws. How can we make those maps more reflective of communities' lived experiences?

Health Care Institutions Invest in Tenant Protections for Community Health

Health care institutions are expanding from funding development to supporting housing justice and tenant rights policy.
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?
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.

Rx for Tenants

Doctors and lawyers team up to help tenants stuck in housing that's bad for their health

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.

How *Not* to Connect Health and Community Development

A few months ago as I walked to a board meeting of my local CDFI, I passed a memorial to a young man who...
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.
The polygon outline is the residential census tract for the participants’ housing project community, represented by the single black marker. Green markers represent places participants identified as positive, healthy, and good, while red markers represent places identified as negative, unhealthy, and bad.

The Real Limits of Census Tracts, and Other Boundaries

We can’t truly understand how a person’s health is affected by where they live if we look only at data within arbitrary boundaries like census tracts and ignore the places people actually go and don’t go every day.