For over 45 years, Community Housing Partners (CHP) has created positive health outcomes for the individuals and families we serve. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we work with public and private partners and our employees to deliver on our mission to create homes and communities that are healthy, sustainable, and affordable. We have long focused on environmental, economic, and social responsibility, and now recognize and understand these priorities as key social determinants of health.
In early 2015, CHP leaders were introduced to the social determinants of health model and it became immediately clear that our work was directly and positively impacting the health and quality of life of our residents and clients. We create housing stability through our development and stewardship of safe, affordable rental housing. We improve the physical environment through our focus on green building and residential energy efficiency we enhance social and economic wellbeing though programming offered onsite to our tenants. And we promote long-term stability through the homeownership services. Using the social determinants of health model, CHP is positively impacting the health and quality of life of our residents and clients in everything that we do.
In 2017, CHP formally committed to prioritizing health by including health outcomes as one of four key goals in our strategic plan. CHP’s work in the health space can be viewed in three overlapping categories: (1) the creation and preservation of stable housing for low-income individuals and families; (2) the alignment of our housing and services with health programming; and (3) services that result in a healthier built environment for our residents and clients.
Pandemic ResponseLearn more about our commitment to resident and employee welfare.
In May 2021, CHP and project partners opened a Health and Wellness Suite on the first floor of the newly renovated J. Van Story Branch Apartments in Baltimore, Maryland. Program leaders MedStar Health and Keswick are working in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine, Sheppard Pratt, and University of Maryland School of Nursing to deliver access to care and provide health and wellness programs for the building’s residents.
Since October 2021, CHP has teamed up with Inova Health and Health Care Without Harm on a pilot program to ensure that patients in Northern Virginia have a healthy and energy efficient home. Inova clinic staff and social workers identify individuals who underlying health issues might be caused or worsened by their living situation and refer them to CHP Energy Solutions. If eligible, CHP will install energy efficiency and other home upgrades that create healthy air temperatures, humidity levels, noise levels, and improved air quality.
One of the fundamental social determinants of health is access to safe, affordable, and stable housing. The broad definition of housing stability is that a household is not at risk of an unwanted move. An abundance of research shows that housing instability negatively affects physical health and makes it harder to access health care. Because of limited affordable rental markets, families with the lowest incomes may be forced to rent substandard housing that exposes them to health and safety risks. They may also be forced into overcrowded situations which can affect mental health, stress levels, relationships, and sleep, and it may increase the risk of infectious disease.
Research also shows that moving three or more times a year has been associated with an increase in chronic health conditions in children, and they may also be less likely to have consistent health insurance coverage. The most severe result of housing instability is homelessness which is linked to an overwhelming amount of negative health outcomes.
Affordable Housing Development
Creating stable housing through the development and preservation of affordable rental housing communities is CHP’s core line of business. We have developed more than 130 housing communities with over 8,100 units of energy efficient, affordable, multifamily housing in six states, the vast majority of which are Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects.
CHP Real Estate Development has extensive experience in layering multiple public and private financing sources to ensure that CHP communities are kept affordable to the low-income residents thus ensuring housing stability.
CHP has always known that building, preserving, and responsibly managing affordable rental communities results in housing stability for our residents, but it is the housing-based service coordination by our CHP Resident Services division that enables us to further stabilize and support our residents. CHP works directly with our residents to influence social and economic factors such as education, employment, income, social support, and community safety which are all factors in sustained housing stability.
In 2020, CHP received a Certified Organization for Resident Engagement and Services (CORES) Certification, provided to organizations that have developed the infrastructure to deliver high-quality resident services across their portfolios.
We further promote housing stability through CHP Energy Solutions, which is the largest provider of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in Virginia. Through the program, CHP provides energy audits and retrofit services at no cost and prioritizes serving the elderly and those with disabilities. Weatherizing homes not only improves and stabilizes housing conditions, but it also saves residents energy and money.
In addition, a new program from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development called the Housing Innovations in Energy Efficiency (HIEE) program will focus on increasing energy efficiency in affordable housing and lowering energy bills for low-income Virginians.
CHP also recognizes that, for many households, housing stability culminates in homeownership. Long-term homeownership is an opportunity for families to improve their financial situations, experience upward mobility, and maximize sustained housing stability.
CHP Homeownership offers certified group education to build a knowledge base around homeownership, and they provide counseling sessions that offer personalized one-on-one guidance. By offering this education and counseling within CHP’s affordable rental communities, we are working to remove economic and societal barriers to homeownership to promote generational stability.
In addition to impacting health through economic, educational, and social programs, CHP Resident Services is more directly influencing health outcomes through a focus on health and wellness activities. Health and wellness programs allow residents to take charge of their personal health through prevention programs, increased knowledge of risk factors, and informed options for preventative and routine healthcare.
In 2021, CHP began to tailor health and wellness programming to focus on senior populations more intentionally. Our resident services coordinators proactively register senior, pre-senior, and non-elderly disabled residents in case management services to assess and meet the needs of those individuals on an ongoing basis. Common services include health and education screenings, physical fitness programming, well checks, and connections to programs designed to improve the residents’ physical and emotional well-being and enhance their quality of life. Our goal is to give our senior residents an environment in which they can safely and comfortably age in place.
Health Outcomes Demonstration Project
In 2017, CHP was among 20 nonprofit organizations from across the country chosen through a competitive process for the Health Outcomes Demonstration Project, a joint effort by Enterprise Community Partners and NeighborWorks America. We received technical assistance, grant funding, peer learning, and measurement tools to demonstrate and document the important connections between our senior programming and the health of residents living at CHP’s senior rental communities.
CHP also impacts health through the creation of healthy homes. A healthy home is one that is not only affordable and stable, but also provides a physical living space that is hazard-free, accessible, pest-free, and has healthy indoor air quality.
CHP Energy Solutions
Our CHP Energy Solutions team provides energy audits and retrofits to age- and income-qualifying individuals. Retrofit measures might include adding insulation and sealing air leaks, installing energy efficient lighting, repairing or replacing heating and cooling systems, sealing leaky duct systems, installing exhaust and ventilation fans, adding CO detectors and smoke alarms, and installing water-conserving faucet aerators and showerheads. Additionally, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company have partnered with CHP to deliver expanded programs for their low-income customers.
CHP is committed to the incorporation of green, sustainable design and building practices and components into all the multifamily and single-family properties that we preserve or create. We have established a baseline of environmentally friendly products and practices that not only reflect our commitment to environmental, economic, and social sustainability, but also impact the health of the of the people and communities we serve. We prioritize the use of green/sustainable building materials that conserve resources and create healthier built environments including improved air quality.
Once a multifamily property is developed or purchased, CHP Property Management and CHP Asset Management become the stewards of the property. Their responsibility is to ensure that it is properly maintained to provide safe, hazard-free, green, and healthy housing for its occupants and to enhance the community in which it is located. CHP Property Management performs physical inspections, seeks feedback from residents, and regularly performs repairs and preventative maintenance. When CHP Asset Management plans capital improvements, replacement products and building upgrades prioritize durability, energy efficiency, water conservation, and indoor air quality.
Over the past decade, healthcare providers have shifted to a “value-based healthcare” model, where hospitals and physicians are paid based on patient health outcomes rather than the number of services provided. This creates incentives to partner with community development organizations. Both housing and healthcare organizations are turning to the social determinants of health model and searching for ways to collaborate. With these shared objectives in mind, CHP is partnering with healthcare providers across several departments.
From our roots as a volunteer organization serving housing needs in Appalachia, CHP has grown into a multi-state organization nationally recognized for our capabilities and commitment to innovation and continuous improvement. Although CHP’s footprint has greatly expanded over the decades, our mission continues to focus on creating homes and communities that are healthy, sustainable, and affordable.