Bubbling Up

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Combining housing with a robust support system can help improve the health and security of vulnerable populations.

A new program from Missouri Foundation for Health, designed to offer supportive housing for individuals with health conditions, is coming closer to fruition with the announcement of the new Patriot Place apartments in Columbia, Missouri. The veteran’s apartments, funded in part by MFH’s new “Show Me Healthy Housing” program, is one of four grants that focuses on combating homelessness and improving quality of life.

The program provides funding to health-related nonprofit agencies for the construction of housing as well as the provision of case management and health care services. Their clients will be able to live in an apartment and receive on-site services.  Housing is at the center of this program because a safe, affordable place to call home is linked to education, employment and positive health outcomes overall.

Patriot Place apartments will offer housing to veterans participating in the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, and is primarily designed to help those experiencing service-related disabilities, homelessness or home insecurity and other vulnerabilities. The project is a collaboration between the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, Welcome Home, Inc. and MFH grantee the Columbia Housing Authority. Other supporters include the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Iowa, and Veterans United Home Loans. In addition to the 25 permanent one-bedroom apartments, homeless shelter Welcome Home, Inc. will offer 29 transitional apartments for homeless veterans.

“It’s wonderful to see so many different organizations coming together for such an important cause,” said Jean Freeman-Crawford, a program officer at Missouri Foundation for Health. “By offering supportive housing, you’re combining housing with on-site services that may include counseling, case management, job training, health care screenings and other social services. By packaging these services together, we can really assist individuals in improving their health and overall wellbeing.”

“Housing and the social determinants of health are critical MFH strategies,” said Darin Preis, executive director of Central Missouri Community Action and member of MFH’s board of directors.

When mid-Missouri partners, statewide funders, local businesses and investors all work together to make Missourians healthier we see impressive projects like this that could not be achieved by any one of them alone.

Darin Preis

”Additional upcoming Show Me Healthy Housing projects include Chloe Place in Hannibal, Missouri, focusing on individuals with serious mental illnesses; Beacon Village II in Springfield, MO, focusing on affordable housing for families transitioning from homelessness and Berkshire Estates in Mexico, Missouri, focusing on seniors and homeless veterans.“We think this holistic strategy really has the opportunity to pull people out of a cycle of insecurity, both from a financial and health perspective,” said Dr. Robert Hughes, president and CEO of MFH. “Housing is the lynchpin from which so much other assistance can be provided.”

Groundbreaking for Patriot Place is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2015.