$1.7 million “Housing with Services” project helps vulnerable residents, PSU report shows
Author: University Communications
Posted: November 2, 2016

A new report from Portland State University’s Institute on Aging suggests that offering health and social services on-site in low-income housing can help residents stay healthier and in their homes longer.

The $1.7 million “Housing with Services” project provides coordinated services in 11 buildings that house 1,400 low-income seniors and adults with disabilities in Portland. The new model of community-based care brings together several housing, health and social service agencies with funding from state, philanthropic, non-profit and private sources. 

An evaluation by Portland State Prof. Paula Carder found that residents who had contact with the Housing with Services team were more likely to use preventative health and outpatient mental health services and that they had a small decline in emergency department use compared to residents with no contacts. In addition, food insecurity among these residents declined during the program period. The evaluation showed that the availability of on-site staff, including health navigators and community health workers, improved residents’ access to health and social services.

The full report and executive summary are available on the Institute for Aging research page

“Housing with Services provides an excellent example of how housing can be a platform for health among older persons and adults with disabilities who live in low-income apartment buildings,” Carder said. “The collaborative effort by over 20 local housing, health, and social service agencies, along with two resident groups, resulted in measurable improvements in the lives of vulnerable older adults.”

Starting in September 2014, housing and service providers worked together to help residents enroll in health plans, access social services, connect with primary care providers, acquire medical equipment and follow up on other support. They also opened a health and wellness center on the ground level of the 1200 Building on Southwest 12th Avenue and Jefferson Street for health screenings, social events and activities such as tai chi.  

The partners in the Housing with Services project include Cedar Sinai Park, CareOregon, Home Forward, REACH Community Development, Asian Health and Service Center, Jewish Family and Child Services, Sinai In-Home Care, Cascadia Behavioral Health and LifeWorks NW. They have formed a Limited Liability Corporation to continue the project. 

Funding came from all the partner organizations, a State Innovation Model grant to the Oregon Department of Human Human Services and Oregon Health Authority, Meyer Memorial Trust, Family Care, Enterprise Community Partners, NeighborWorks and Providence Health System, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and the HEDCO Foundation.