Sunday, May 7, 2017

Affordable Housing Can Improve A Communities Health

One of the many reasons I am proud to work for UnitedHealthcare is our company’s commitment to helping thousands of Americans live healthier lives.  This commitment extends beyond the services we deliver to our members and includes seeking out ways of responding to social needs like affordable housing.

Earlier this month I joined a host of community leaders, housing developers and formerly homeless New Yorkers for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Gouverneur Place in the Bronx. Gouverneur Place is a 68-unit affordable housing complex that integrates high-quality housing with supportive services. We congratulated and welcomed the residents, toured the grounds of the complex, and delivered welcome baskets, prepared by local UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers, which included a warm blanket, kitchen supplies, grocery gift cards and other household items. 
UnitedHealthcare employees assemble welcome baskets for residents at Gouverneur Place
affordable housing community in the Bronx.
This seven-story community is being applauded as a model public-private partnership. The State of New York and UnitedHealthcare were among the largest investors in the $20.7 million development, which features a mix of studio, 1- , 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, and onsite amenities that include a computer lounge, community room, supportive services, laundry room, bike storage and outdoor courtyard and recreation area.   

The primary reason UnitedHealthcare invests in projects like this is simple. It’s just the right thing to do. Everyone deserves a roof over their head.  No matter who you are or where you grew up; no matter your income, your economic standing or your job status, you deserve a chance to live in secure, healthy, and affordable environment. You deserve a home. 
Michael McGuire, CEO for UnitedHealthcare in New York, delivers welcome basket to
Gouverneur Place resident Maria Perez
But it’s not just a “good deed.” It’s also a business decision. Affordable housing has clear implications on health. When individuals and families are spending the bulk of their income on housing or are living in local shelters, they have a difficult time accessing other basic needs like healthy food, education and healthcare. As the health insurer of nearly 4 million New Yorkers, UnitedHealthcare is in the business of keeping people healthy – and providing folks with safe, affordable housing goes a long way in achieving that goal. 

Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare has invested more than $350 million to help build affordable community developments throughout the United States. These developments provide both affordable housing opportunities and individualized, targeted support services for low-income individuals and families, including seniors, veterans, people living with disabilities and people struggling through homelessness.

You can learn more about the Gouverneur Place and catch up on UnitedHealthcare’s other projects by following us on Twitter, @UHC, or visiting our website:
Community leaders, affordable-housing advocates and key investment partners celebrate the opening of Gouverneur Place Apartments.  L to R:  Jeffrey Dansler, resident; Tiffany Sims, Westhab; Bob Greco, Rende Contracting Corp.; Horace Bush, resident; Saky Yakas, SLCE; Dawn Miller, resident; Moira Tashjian; OMH; Kristina Reed, resident; Budd Isaacson, OMH; Richard Nightingale, Westhab; New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson; Mark McIntyre, NYC OER; Greg Watson, NY HCR; Dan Magidson, Enterprise; Michael McGuire, UnitedHealthcare.  Photo Source:  Colin Sussingham

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