What was the goal of the initiative?

The UnitedHealthcare and Chicanos Por La Causa Partnership for Quality Affordable Housing and Supportive Health and Wellness Services was developed to acquire, develop, and operate, multi-family housing units for low-income individuals and families that incorporates convenient access to social, medical, and behavioral services.  In addition to providing important and much needed supportive services to the community, the initiative aims to expand the supply of quality, affordable housing units, a portion of which will be reserved and made available to Phoenix-area UnitedHealthcare members.  The partners see this initiative as a way to both, positively impact housing, a key social determinant of health, and to substantially reduce healthcare utilization and costs.

Who were the partners?

UnitedHealthcare offers a full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, families, and employers.  UnitedHealthcare is a division of UnitedHealth Group, a diversified Fortune 50 health and wellness company.  The partnership is part of a pilot program by UnitedHealthcare called myConnections, which aims to have a significant positive impact on health and quality of life.  

Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) is a community development corporation with operations in the southwestern states of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.  Key focus areas of CPLC include economic development, housing, and social services.  With over 48 different programs and services, 900 employees, and 60 offices, CPLC is one of the largest Hispanic non-profits in the nation.     

What outcomes were achieved?

As a result of the partnership, two apartment complexes, with a combined total of about 500 units of affordable housing, have been purchased, preserved, and renovated.  Renovated units come equipped with mattresses, dining tables, microwaves, silverware, and other essentials. These units provide housing for many residents who were recently homeless or struggling to obtain stable housing.

How was the initiative financed?

The two apartment complexes, The Palms and the Residences at Camelback West, were acquired by CPLC using part of a $20 million capital commitment provided by UnitedHealthcare.  Through its Affordable Housing Investment Program, UnitedHealthcare has provided more than $230 million in financing for community development projects throughout the United States.   Jenny Ismert, Vice President of Policy and Strategy at UnitedHealth Group recommends that cities, community developers, and other stakeholders develop a good value story and understanding of their potential partner’s organizational priorities prior to approaching a health organization or other institutions like UnitedHealthcare.