What Does It Take to Start a Housing-Health Partnership?

CHPS | February 22, 2016

The Housing and Health Partnerships Toolkit developed last year by the LeadingAge Center for Housing Plus Services is the topic of a new online interview with Alisha Sanders, managing director of the Center.

The toolkit offers information and resources that can help housing and health care partners launch initiatives that lead to improved health, safety, and quality of life for low-income older adults facing multiple health and social challenges.

Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) produced the video. PAHRC is a division of HAI Group, a family of companies dedicated to making a difference in the public and affordable housing community.

The 12-video, listed on the HAI Group website under the name “LeadingAge Housing and Health Care Partnership Toolkit Short,” describes several components of the Housing and Health Partnerships Toolkit, including a guide to collaboration entitled Housing and Health Care: Partners in Health Aging.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the information Sanders shared during the interview:

  • Finding health care partners: “One way to get started is to map the providers and the payers that are serving the community surrounding your property,” advised Sanders. “You also want to be familiar with the health care entities and payers that your residents are already using or could possibly be using. Blend these two lists together (to) see where the best partnership opportunities might potentially be.”
  • Developing the business case for a housing-health partnership: “Know what kind of health characteristics and health needs your residents have,” said Sanders. “This helps you know what kind of services your residents are going to use, and it lets your health care partner know that there is a need at a property (that makes it) worthwhile for them to come out and work with you.” 
  • Challenges associated with housing-health partnerships: “One of the biggest challenges is being able to have a large enough volume of residents to be of interest to health care providers,” said Sanders. “Housing providers might think about networking with other housing properties surrounding their communities and see if they can work together as a group to create partnerships with health care entities.” 
  • Different ways to collaborate: “There are lots of different ways (housing and health entities) can work together and it can depend on the needs of the residents and the interests of the health care provider,” said Sanders. The guide offers descriptions and examples of many of those approaches to collaboration, she said.
  • Questions to ask a prospective partner: “The last segment of the guide provides some tips on how to start working with (your) partner about how you will structure and implement the partnership,” said Sanders. “Making sure everyone is on the same page up front is going to help you have a smoother partnership as you go along.” 

Sanders acknowledged that developing housing-health partnerships could be challenging.

“The health care arena is really complex and it can vary from provider to provider and community to community,” said Sanders. “It may be a little challenging to get that partnership going, but it will reap rewards for you.”