Housing For Health Initiative Marks Milestone With Patients Placed In Housing

May 18, 2023

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that 600 patients found housing through its Housing for Health initiative in two years.

These patients were referred to the program by their NYC Health + Hospitals care team, and 40% of them are members of MetroPlusHealth, the health system’s managed care organization. They live in all five boroughs and are connected to the health system for their healthcare. Housing for Health will create nearly 650 new affordable homes in the next five years. Housing for Health is NYC Health + Hospitals’ comprehensive initiative to serve its large patient population experiencing homelessness by connecting them to affordable homes and housing supports. Upcoming Housing for Health projects include the Comunilife Throop Residence in Brooklyn on the campus of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, Just Home in the Bronx on the campus of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, and 1727 Amsterdam Avenue in Harlem, NY. In March, NYC Health + Hospitals announced that approximately 600 patients per year will receive one-on-one support applying for housing, doubling the number of patients who currently access housing navigation support in the health system, through a new contract with Coordinated Behavioral Care. Listen to patient Jesus Cerda talk about how housing helped him manage his health.

“As a physician, I should be able to prescribe whatever my patient needs to make them better, but for my patients experiencing homelessness, I can’t prescribe housing,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to helping our patients find housing, and I’m thrilled that we’ve housed 600 patients in two years. With our recent contract to double the number of patients who get help applying for supportive housing and our new apartment building in construction on our campus at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, more patients will be housed more quickly in the coming months. We can’t wait.”

“Finding and applying for housing is no easy task in New York City. It is even more challenging for our most vulnerable patients,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Housing and Real Estate Leora Jontef. “It is a huge accomplishment that NYC Health + Hospitals has been able to help 600 of our patients find and move in to an apartment, and it’s just the beginning.”

“Those who face housing instability are more likely to experience poor health. Housing is critical for people to live their best lives. Our Housing Taskforce has seen firsthand how supportive housing has improved our members overall health,” said Dr. Talya Schwartz, President and CEO at MetroPlusHealth. “Our members will continue to benefit from NYC Health + Hospitals’ commitment to Housing for Health.”


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Last year, NYC Health + Hospitals provided care for 49,800 patients experiencing homelessness. Adults experiencing homelessness have three times more hospital and emergency department visits than the general population. In addition to improving participants’ lives by finding them housing, the program is expected to save costs by reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Housing for Health is an initiative to connect patients experiencing homelessness to stable, affordable housing and a strategy outlined in Mayor Eric Adams’ housing plan, “Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness.”

“I remember when I got here, I was like wow, I feel at home. I could wake up at any time. I could cook my meals, I could eat whatever I want. And that feeling is amazing. This apartment makes me feel like a king because I’m in control. It’s something that I never had before,” said Jesus Cerda, a patient at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem who found housing through NYC Health + Hospitals’ Housing for Health initiative.

“Woodhull hospital has been great for me. They took me out of the shelter and put me in the greatest apartment that I only dreamed of. I love you guys. Thanks again,” said Vincent, a patient at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull who found housing through NYC Health + Hospitals’ Housing for Health initiative.

Housing for Health recognizes that the chronic health issues of unhoused individuals cannot be treated without stable housing. This initiative seeks to improve their health and wellbeing of New Yorkers by focusing on four strategic areas: navigation services, medical respite beds, affordable housing on hospital property, and social service support for patients in permanent housing.

Housing for Health Strategies

Housing Navigation Services: NYC Health + Hospitals counsels and helps eligible patients to access and apply for supportive, affordable, and market-rate housing, as well as rental subsidies. This resource is vital to navigating the New York City complex housing landscape. In March, NYC Health + Hospitals announced that approximately 600 patients per year will receive one-on-one support applying for housing, doubling the number of patients who currently access housing navigation support in the health system, through a new contract with Coordinated Behavioral Care.

Medical Respite Beds for Frail PatientsNYC Health + Hospitals funds the largest medical respite bed program in New York City. Its 51 medical respite beds in Manhattan and the Bronx offer social service support for medically frail patients who no longer need hospitalization but still require access to medical care. Medical respite services allow patients to rest, recover, de-escalate, and heal in a safe environment after a major health episode. The health system partners with two experienced nonprofit organizations — Comunilife and Institute for Community Living — which provide holistic care coordination, medically-tailored meals, and access to wound care and physical therapy. Patients also receive case management support to help identify future housing options.

Dedicate NYC Health + Hospitals Land for Affordable and Supportive Housing: NYC Health + Hospitals leases land for supportive and affordable housing developments for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, including seniors and those formerly experiencing homelessness. Overall, there are 1,600 apartment units on NYC Health + Hospitals land. Housing for Health plans to leverage additional land to create nearly 650 new affordable homes near NYC Health + Hospitals resources to deliver continuity of care for vulnerable New Yorkers.

Fund Social Support Services in Permanent HousingNYC Health + Hospitals funds on-site social services to help patients stabilize and thrive in their new housing environment. Support services individualize support to ease the transition from homelessness to permanent housing, assistance with accessing benefits, connecting to local food pantries and employment services, and continued care coordination.

NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Photo credit: Source.

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