Housing is Health
Housing is Health
Being bold enough to believe we can end homelessness
Mike Butler, president of operations and strategy
Having a safe place to live is something many of us take for granted. We go home with our minds on the commute, what we’ll have for dinner, and maybe our weekend to-do lists. But for more than half a million Americans, a home is everything they don’t have. Millions more people are in unstable housing situations. One in 10 U.S. households spend more than half their income on housing.
I live in Seattle, which has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country, along with a very expensive housing market. I’ve been out on a Point in Time count and I found it to be both a learning experience and an eye opener. When I took a look at the best estimates we have for homelessness in the U.S., I realized that the seven western states served by Providence St. Joseph Health represent 36 percent, or 198,000 of the total 552,800 Americans who were homeless for at least a portion of 2018. The national estimated rate of homelessness is 17 per 10,000 people in any one state. We serve four states that far exceed this benchmark.
Reducing homelessness is about partnerships. To make a lasting impact, nonprofits, for-profits, governments, agencies, and health systems need to work together. Our family of organizations often join with community partners that offer housing and related social services to those experiencing housing instability or homelessness. In many of the stories here, we have made community benefit investments supporting nonprofits and agencies that are dedicated to giving highly vulnerable people a fresh start. It’s all because we believe that #HousingisHealth.
Supportive housing combines permanent housing with voluntary supportive services for its residents, many of whom have experienced homelessness or housing instability. The supportive housing model offers safe, affordable community-based living that helps residents remain housed and have the best chance at an independent, productive life. Depending on the housing provider, it is offered to individuals and to families with very low incomes.
Blogs by Mike Butler
Mike Butler is the president of strategy and operations for Providence, and has served in executive roles at the health system since 1998. Prior to Providence, Mike was the chief operating and financial officer for the Franciscan Health System in Tacoma, Wash., and Catholic Health Initiatives in Englewood, Colo. He currently serves on the boards of Vizient, MultiScale Health Networks and Medical Teams International.
Blogs by Tim Zaricznyj
Timothy Zaricznyj, Ed.D., is executive director of supportive housing for Providence. He leads 16 affordable housing programs in Washington, Oregon and California. Zaricznyj holds a doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco for which he published the dissertation “Righting Home, A Critical Hermeneutic Study of Home, Homelessness and the Spaces In Between.”
The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress: Part 1 Point in Time Estimates of Homelessness
This report examines the 2018 Point in Time Count and offers a snapshot of homelessness, described as sheltered and unsheltered, on a single night in the U.S. It covers national and state data. It is published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is a frequently-used resource. Many other reports are based on its findings.
2019 County Health Rankings Report
This report ranks the health of nearly every county in the nation. The 2019 edition highlights secure, affordable housing. It is produced by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The State of Homelessness 2019 Report
Produced by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, this report uses the HUD Point in Time Count and other research to extrapolate state and national data on homelessness.
Housing and the Role of Hospitals
The American Hospital Association makes a clear link between social needs and health status. Up to 40% of health outcomes may be attributed to nonmedical factors. The guide includes five case studies of hospitals and health system innovation on housing issues in their communities.
A House, A Tent, A Box: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Healthy Housing
A look at the public perceptions of homelessness and the opportunities to better explain the root causes and its broader societal significance. Includes a comparison of expert and public understanding of housing and healthy housing.
Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America
A thorough and concise report that calls for understanding and addressing youth homelessness. The accessible presentation of findings includes national estimates along with comprehensive recommendations for advocacy and intervention.
Health in Housing: Exploring the Intersection Between Housing & Health Care
This study examined three types of affordable housing in 145 locations in Oregon to identify impact on health care costs. Medicaid claims data were used to measure changes in health care costs and use,. Health care costs were markedly lower and resident satisfaction higher after people moved into affordable housing.
Anchored Home: Strategic Action Plan to Solve Homelessness in Anchorage: 2018-2021
Published by the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, this is a focused implementation plan for Anchorage, Alaska that combines federal, state and local strategies. It involved broad community engagement and looks at immediate needs as well as areas where more resources are needed to achieve goals.
Regional Supportive Housing Impact Fund - Oregon
A strategic framework to guide the next phase of the Housing is Health initiative based in Portland, Oregon. Conclusions and direction were formed through extensive community discussions. The primary goal is to expand supportive housing capacity including transitions into this housing model. The focus is on populations that are experiencing homelessness and have complex health challenges.