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Health care organizations invest $21.5 million to support medical services and low-income housing

Sep 23, 2016, 07:00 AM

September 23, 2016

Portland, Ore. — CareOregon has joined with five other leading health care organizations to make a $21.5 commitment to Central City Concern’s effort to improve health by addressing the housing crisis. In a unique partnership with Central City Concern, the “Housing is Health” network investment will address affordable housing, homelessness and health care in Portland by adding 382 new housing units at three locations, including one with an integrated health center in Southeast Portland.

“Our support is an investment in preventive health care and our members’ future,” said Eric C. Hunter, CareOregon’s chief executive officer. “People who don’t have stable housing and have health issues just can’t make the changes they need, whether they’re recovering from hospitalization, managing chronic health conditions or overcoming addiction. Housing not only improves health outcomes, but helps reduce the overall costs of health care.”

The Housing is Health network projects include:

  • Eastside Health Center, 25 NE 122nd Ave., serving medically fragile people and people with disabilities. It will have a first-floor clinic, housing for 176 people and a 24-hour medical presence. Eastside Concern, an existing Central City Concern program, will relocate here.
  • Stark Street Apartments, 12647 SE Stark St., which will provide 155 units of workforce housing.
  • Interstate Apartments, 6905 N. Interstate Ave., which will provide 51 units for families.

In addition to CareOregon, which contributed $4 million, the Housing is Health funders include Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Science University and Providence Health & Services – Oregon, which also gave $4 million each; and Adventist Health Portland, which pledged $1.5 million. The projects will be headed by Central City Concern.

CareOregon serves approximately 150,000 Medicaid members (Oregon Health Plan) in the metro area through its affiliation with Health Share of Oregon, and another 70,000 through OHP Coordinated Care Organizations in Jackson County and the North Coast. Increasingly, CareOregon has been looking beyond doctors’ offices and hospitals to address the social and economic barriers to health and health care, which include nutrition, social isolation and poverty as well as housing.

CareOregon’s giving and staff outreach work addresses all these factors. This year community giving has focused especially on housing. In addition to the Housing is Health project, CareOregon has given $387,000 in grants to community groups in Portland, Jackson County and on the north Oregon Coast that help keep families in their homes and make it easier for them to access health care. Additionally, it has added staff to help members find the help they need when they are in housing crisis.

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