An affordable-housing initiative by UnitedHealthcare is helping connect Michigan residents to quality housing and support services to help them live healthier lives.
UnitedHealthcare joined community leaders, project partners, housing advocates and residents today at the grand opening of New Parkridge, one of four new affordable-housing communities in Michigan in which UnitedHealthcare has invested a combined total of $35 million to improve access to affordable housing for individuals and families with the greatest needs.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission on Health, the affordability of housing has clear implications for health. The shortage of affordable housing limits people’s choices about where they live, often relegating lower-income families to substandard housing in unsafe, overcrowded neighborhoods with higher rates of poverty and fewer resources for healthy outdoor and exercise activities. The financial burden of unaffordable housing can prevent families from meeting other basic needs including nutrition and health care, and is particularly significant for low-income families.
“Access to safe, quality, affordable housing and local support services such as health care, job training and education are critical to helping people enhance their well-being and quality of life,” said Dennis Mouras, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Michigan, which employs nearly 1,000 people in the state and serves the health care needs of 850,000 Michigan residents.
Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare has provided more than $350 million in equity to help finance and build 56 affordable-housing communities in 14 states, creating more than 2,700 new homes for people in need of affordable housing and support services to help enhance their well-being and quality of life.
In Michigan, UnitedHealthcare partnered with Cinnaire and Minnesota Equity Fund (MEF) to invest $35 million in affordable housing utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits approved by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). Cinnaire and MEF support community stabilization and economic development through partnerships with investors and mission-focused organizations through the use of federal tax credits and by providing creative loans, investments and best-in-class services to partners.
“Cinnaire and MEF partner with leading socially motivated companies like UnitedHealthcare to make economic investments in well-designed, high-quality affordable-housing developments,” said Mark McDaniel, president and CEO of Cinnaire. “These investments help meet a critical need in Michigan to provide quality, permanent housing with support services to people in need. We appreciate the commitment UnitedHealthcare has made to investing in affordable housing and creating healthy, vibrant communities.”
The investments made by UnitedHealthcare in Michigan will result in 236 new homes and include:
“MEF and Cinnaire are proud to work with UnitedHealthcare in supporting these communities in Michigan,” said Warren Hanson, MEF president and CEO. “Our partnership is helping to meet a critical need for affordable housing in communities throughout the state.”
New Parkridge, developed by the Ypsilanti Housing Commission and Chesapeake Community Advisors, includes 86 duplexes, townhouses and apartments with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes. The community incorporates “new urbanism” design concepts that feature street-facing residences with porches, sidewalks, driveways, yards, a playground and space for a community garden.
A large community building includes an activity room, kitchen, computer lab and offices for social workers and property management. On-site support services are available to all residents, providing greater access to health care, education, job training, childcare and other services.
During today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, UnitedHealthcare employees donated welcome baskets filled with household items and healthy foods that were given to each of the new residents to help welcome them into their new homes.
Cinnaire is a full-service community development financial partner that supports community stabilization and economic development by developing and nurturing partnerships with investors and mission-focused organizations. It provides creative loans, investments, and best-in-class services to partners. For more information visit www.cinnaire.com.
MEF is a subsidiary of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF), a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution. GMHF provides loans, equity investments, grants and technical assistance to create affordable housing in Minnesota. MEF provides equity investments in Minnesota and the Great Lakes region. MEF is a strategic partnership between GMHF and Cinnaire.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.
New Parkridge resident Tiffany LeBlanc receives a welcome basket from (L-R) Dennis Mouras, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Michigan and U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12); in background, Zachary Fosler, executive director, Ypsilanti Housing Commission. UnitedHealthcare, the largest investor in New Parkridge, donated welcome baskets filled with household items and healthy foods to each new resident (Photo: Nick Azzaro).