Gulf Coast Housing Partnership Awarded $2.5 Million Grant
NEW ORLEANS – Enterprise Community Partners and Wells Fargo announced today that Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, a New Orleans-based real estate developer, is one of six winners of the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, a nationwide competition that began in January to find the most innovative and scalable solutions to increase housing affordability across the U.S.
“Housing affordability is directly tied to racial equity and both are urgent issues fundamentally impacting every community in our country. That is what makes the Breakthrough Challenge so important right now,” said Priscilla Almodovar, chief executive officer at Enterprise Community Partners. “We’re thrilled to support our grantees and the next generation of housing solutions through these six visionary proposals. Enterprise is incredibly grateful for the generous financial resources and tremendous expertise brought by the Wells Fargo team throughout the competition.”
GCHP was selected from among 900 applicants nationwide and will receive a $2 million grant and $500,000 in technical assistance to develop Health + Housing, which will connect affordable housing with accessible medical care, data-driven impact analysis and new sources of capital from health care payors, specifically Medicaid Managed Care Organizations.
The Health + Housing idea began as a collaboration between GCHP and a group of Jackson, Miss. faith-based and community health organizations as a way to address both the need for accessible, community-based health care and affordable housing. GCHP President and CEO, Kathy Laborde played a critical role in the idea inception.
“I believe that a person’s quality of life is greatly influenced by access to affordable housing and health care,” said Laborde. “Health + Housing brings together those two components in partnership with MCOs who underwrite these projects to provide quality homes and convenient access to health care for their members.”
The Health + Housing innovation seeks to change the financing equation by attracting flexible below-market debt from health care payors while creating robust community-based health systems. GCHP will use the grant funds received from Enterprise and Wells Fargo to seed a risk-sharing capital pool aimed at leveraging investments in new affordable housing developments from health care payors.
GCHP has laid the groundwork for Health + Housing and secured gap financing commitments from two of the largest Medicaid MCOs in the country, Humana and UnitedHealthcare, for pilot projects in Jackson, Miss. and New Orleans.
UnitedHealthcare will be GCHP’s partner for the first Health + Housing pilot project in Jackson, Miss.
“We know that access to safe, affordable housing is one of the biggest hurdles people face in achieving better health. By working together on initiatives that remove these barriers, we can help improve the quality of life in our most underserved populations,” said Jeff Wedin, chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi
The second pilot project will be in partnership with Humana and located in Central City New Orleans, a community that GCHP has partnered with for over a decade
“Humana is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative,” said Tony Mollica, Humana’s Medicaid regional vice president. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a crucial time to step up to help create both affordable housing and greater access to health care for New Orleanians. We are truly committed to Health + Housing and making a difference for Central City residents.”
The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge is part of Wells Fargo’s $1 billion commitment to support housing affordability solutions nationwide by 2025.
“Too often good ideas are overlooked because they need expertise and resources to bring them to scale,” said Nate Hurst, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “We are delighted to join Enterprise Community Partners to engage creative innovators with know-how, technical skill, and imagination, who are now awarded catalytic funding to transform their housing affordability ideas into real solutions on the ground.”