To Improve Health Outside of Hospital Walls, Atrium Health Commits $10 Million to Affordable Housing

06.04.2019 Atrium Health News

 Second major innovative initiative announced within weeks to positively impact health of Charlotte community

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 4, 2019 – Atrium Health announced today a $10 million commitment to continue to build a vibrant community by funding affordable housing initiatives in Charlotte. Poor quality housing can have a direct and lasting negative impact on a person's health and Atrium Health is building upon ongoing and existing work to improve the health and wellbeing of our Charlotte community. This is the latest example of how Atrium Health is reimagining the very definition of health by recognizing that housing is one of the most important prescriptions for a healthy life.

“As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, we have historically measured our success in Charlotte by how many Fortune 500 companies choose to headquarter here, how rapidly our skyline rises, and by our ability to attract word-class talent. Looking to the future, it will be just as important to measure our collective success by the ability of every citizen to thrive. This includes residents knowing where their next healthy meal will come from, having a safe and affordable place to live, and securing a well-paying job that will unlock the doors to the economic prosperity of this region for all,” said Atrium Health President and CEO Eugene A. Woods. “This $10 million commitment towards affordable housing builds upon Atrium’s existing efforts to enhance the quality of life for those in our community, including our own teammates. This is what our mission of health, hope and healing is all about.”

This new commitment comes just weeks after Atrium Health announced additional plans to launch a new effort to improve the health of Queen City residents by embedding health and social services into housing investments. Atrium Health along with its partner Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) was one of five contract awardees of Fannie Mae’s Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge, an open competition exploring innovative ideas that help address the affordable housing crisis in America.

Atrium Health will work with local partners to positively impact behaviors, social circumstances, and environment – broadly known as social determinants of health – such as stable housing, employment opportunities and access to healthy food, as part of a holistic approach to housing development through the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund (CHOIF), a joint effort among Foundation For The Carolinas, the City of Charlotte, corporations, and philanthropic organizations to expand the city’s supply of quality affordable housing. LISC is the fund manager for the CHOIF, which is expected to raise and invest $50 million to finance approximately 1,500 units of housing.

Atrium Health is continually working to enhance the overall health and well-being of the community through high-quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative community engagement and partnerships focused in community health priority activities. In addition to these latest commitments, during 2018 alone, Atrium Health has continued to provide care by:

  • Teammates volunteering more than 45,000 hours in service projects in the Charlotte area and contributing $3.6 million to charitable community-based organizations.
  • Providing over $5.67 million in free and uncompensated care and other benefits to the community each day.
  • Assisting over 50,500 individuals with food security related interventions.
  • Establishing the first hospital-based Kids Eat Free program in the state of North Carolina.
  • Training over 500 community members in Mental Health First Aid, adding to the total of 15,000 individuals who have participated in this evidence-based course teaching participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.
  • Implementing the Wellness on Wheels mobile health unit in partnership with YMCA of Greater Charlotte offering health education and screenings to address chronic disease and obesity in our community.
  • Piloting the first food pharmacy in our community at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center-Biddle Point in partnership with Loaves & Fishes and ONE Charlotte Health Alliance to extend patients access to healthy food options.
  • Unveiling two mobile health units providing health, mental and dental care as part of ONE Charlotte Health Alliance to address barriers to care and improve access to services.

“Atrium Health’s commitment marches us one step closer to boosting the state of affordable housing in our community,” said Foundation For The Carolinas President and CEO Michael Marsicano. “To succeed, it is critical that we have strong community partners who are committed to this cause and are leading by example. We are grateful for the extraordinary generosity of Atrium Health.”

“Quality housing is critical to a strong and growing Charlotte, and it is just as critical to the health of our residents,” said Charlotte’s Mayor Vi Lyles. “This new plan to connect the city’s housing expansion to better health, and the money Atrium Health has committed will have a lasting positive impact on thousands of people.”

“As we get closer to truly moving the needle on affordable housing in Charlotte, it is exciting to see forward-thinking and innovative organizations such as Atrium Health, with a leader like Gene Woods, step up in such a huge way,” said Hugh McColl, chairman emeritus of Falfurrias Capital and Charlotte community leader. “Whether it is donating land or committing financial support, I hope many more organizations will consider what they can do to contribute to the health and well-being of our entire community.”

About Atrium Health
Atrium Health, previously Carolinas HealthCare System, is one of the nation's leading and most innovative healthcare organizations with 50 hospitals and more than 900 care locations, providing a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness programs throughout the Southeast region. Its diverse network of care locations includes academic medical centers, hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, physician practices, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes and behavioral health centers, as well as hospice and palliative care services. Atrium Health works to enhance the overall health and well-being of its communities through high-quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative partnerships and initiatives. To learn more, visit atriumhealth.org

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