UnitedHealthcare Steps Up to Support Affordable Housing in Louisiana

UnitedHealthcare has partnered with the Louisiana Housing Corporation and the Louisiana Department of Health to support important initiatives aimed at reducing homelessness throughout the state.

Lack of affordable housing can have ripple effects throughout our communities, including health outcomes, which is why UnitedHealthcare generously stepped up in 2018 to provide gap funding for one of LHC’s most critical housing programs.

“It’s hard to address someone’s health care if they don’t know where they’re living tonight, so housing has become a core component of our health care delivery model,” says Catherine Anderson, senior vice president of policy and strategy for UnitedHealthcare.

The company provided no-interest bridge financing with no associated fees to help the LHC fully utilize the $11.5 million Continuum of Care Permanent Supportive Housing grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The CoC Program is designed to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness and to provide the services needed to help them move into transitional and permanent housing, with the goal of long-term stability. The CoC Permanent Supportive Housing grant represents roughly a third of the rental assistance that is part of the Louisiana PSH Program, making it a critical component of the LHC’s affordable housing efforts.

LHC received a two-month, no-cost extension from HUD on this grant. The bridge loan from UnitedHealthcare allowed the LHC to expend all of the grant funds instead of leaving a balance that would have to be returned to HUD. LDH then provided the funds to fill the gap and repay the loan.

“UnitedHealth turned an impossibility into a reality and into housing opportunities for our homeless residents,” says LHC Executive Counsel Jessica Guinn Johnson. “These partnerships allowed for the growth of the grant and the ability to serve more people.”

Anderson says in the heavily regulated insurance industry, companies are required to maintain considerable reserves, which are often invested in traditional securities. She says UnitedHealthcare has started to identify opportunities to invest some of that capital in local communities, including a number of affordable housing initiatives.

“Instead of just investing in bonds or other investments, we’re looking for these sorts of vehicles to support the social needs of the communities in which we serve,” she says.

For its ongoing support, UnitedHealthcare was honored with the first Community Connections Champion Award at the LHC’s inaugural Connections conference.

“UnitedHealthcare is a national organization that serves millions of people from their earliest years through their working lives and into retirement,” Guinn Johnson says. “What unites them is their mission to help people live healthier lives and make the health system work better for everyone.”

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