This innovative project aims to embed service strategies that bridge the link between health and housing; ultimately, the goal is to develop a model that may be used by other states to build and promote healthy communities.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), in partnership with Southface and the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC), was awarded $391,962 by The Kresge Foundation for a pilot project we are undertaking jointly with local public housing authorities (PHAs) to help them improve their ability to address residents’ health through better quality housing and improved access to services. The goal of the Georgia HFA Healthy Families project is to help communities overcome the environmental and social disadvantages that contribute to poor health. The grant period for the project is from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020. This effort builds on new and long-time relationships to strengthen the linkages between health and housing.
Healthy communities bring together social, economic and environmental goals to strengthen their ability to promote and sustain health, and improve the quality of life for all residents. This initiative focuses on capacity building, knowledge exchange, and outcome tracking across multiple pilot sites in communities around the state. PHAs bring experience in service partnerships, quality development, and green building to the table. DCA’s partnership with GHPC and Southface adds expertise in the public health and building science fields. Each participating PHA team has agreed to fund a Resident Services Coordinator (RSC) position at these sites to implement connections between residents and health services, support outcome tracking, and foster relationships with health-focused organizations.
Pooling resources and streamlining services is the best way to ensure lasting, concrete results. By embedding a range of services in public housing that will improve educational, health and social outcomes for residents, the aim is to achieve results through the Healthy Families project that can influence how public housing in other states is designed. In addition, GHPC and Southface will establish a "Health and Housing Learning Academy" to foster the learning and exchange of ideas between PHAs.
It is the intent of DCA and its partners to build upon this program and share the building blocks with other PHAs in the state, and the health and housing industry nationally, to make health and wellness initiatives, and ultimately self-sufficiency, a fundamental part of housing assistance.