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CVS Health touts 2020 affordable housing investments

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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CVS Health has invested over $114 million in affordable housing in 2020, which will lead to the construction and rehabilitation of more than 2,800 affordable housing units in 30 cities, across 12 states. Those are the latest figures shared by the healthcare company earlier this week, touting its commitment to the communities it served. 

The company said that throughout 2020, it worked with community organizations to provide affordable housing options and services to people facing significant challenges. As a result of the company’s affordable housing investment strategy, more than 460 permanent supportive housing, or PSH, units will be constructed to provide stable homes for people who may be experiencing homelessness, affected by chronic illness, victims of domestic violence, in need of behavioral health or addiction treatment, or are challenged by similar life and health situations.

In addition to affordable housing, these PSH residents also will receive access to a wide range of services to stabilize and improve their health including social, behavioral health and addiction recovery services.

Additionally, of the 2,800 affordable housing units being constructed or rehabilitated through CVS Health investments, 560 of the units are dedicated to housing seniors, while more than 100 are reserved specifically for veterans and their families.

“We recognize that equitable access to stable and supportive housing serves as one of the greatest barriers to better health for many people,” said Karen Lynch, CVS Health president and CEO. “Through our investments and collaboration with local partners, we’ve been able to provide underserved communities across the country with quality housing, economic support, and educational training opportunities based on the unique needs of the population.”

The company’s efforts to address housing insecurity are a core part of Destination: Health, a series of CVS Health business programs focused on helping people improve their health outside of a clinicalsetting.

CVS Health’s increase in investments in affordable housing with supportive services during 2020 is part of the company’s larger commitment to address racial inequity and the social determinants of health in Black communities. Under this commitment, CVS Health will invest nearly $600 million over five years to advance employee, community and public policy initiatives that address inequity faced by Black people and other disenfranchised communities.

As the company invests in local affordable housing developments, it also is exploring opportunities to bring other social justice and equity initiatives to those same local communities to amplify the impact of the programs. These expansions include bringing the company’s Project Health program to new markets. Project Health offers free biometric screenings to help identify chronic conditions before they become life-threatening illnesses. CVS Health’s workforce initiatives programs, focused on empowerment, education and training, are also being introduced to new markets to help residents achieve meaningful employment opportunities.

In September 2020, CVS Health announced its investment of $13.7 million to renovate 230 low-income housing units at the Rosewind Apartments in Columbus, Ohio. In collaboration with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, CVS Health’s investment will provide comprehensive local support including quality housing, significant improvements to the local community center and support for new community programs for families and individuals facing challenges in the North Linden neighborhood.

In November 2020, the company invested $8.7 million to help build a new 116-unit affordable housing complex in the Mercy Drive neighborhood of Orlando, Fla. The development includes three buildings, a community center, playgrounds, on-site laundry facilities and onsite management offices. All residents will have access to on-site supportive services including adult literacy, employment assistance and financial management programs.

In 2020, CVS Health invested in affordable housing projects and programs in different locations throughout the country including Alaska, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, Hawaii, California, New York, Maryland, and Colorado.

Examples of these investments include:

  • $15.3 million to build 144 new homes and services for Ohio seniors, including those with disabilities, in two affordable housing communities known as Eastern Woods Senior Apartments in Findlay and Northland Gate in Columbus;
  • • $6.2 million for Happiness House Apartments in Canandaigua, N.Y., a supportive housing community providing 30 new homes for families and seniors, including people who have been experiencing homelessness or struggling to find stable housing; and
  • • $4.3 million for Bridgeway Community Housing in Wasilla, Alaska, a 24-unit PSH project designed to meet the needs of Alaskans experiencing homelessness, living with mental disabilities, who may have substance abuse disorders or are working to avoid recidivism, and any other Alaskans whose histories present barriers to accessing mainstream housing.

“Our investments in housing and work with regional organizations this past year have enabled us to help improve individual and community health outcomes during a particularly challenging time,” said Keli Savage, CVS Health head of impact investment strategy. “By focusing our investment strategy on providing affordable, service-enriched housing for low-income regions and communities of color, we’re able to help those most impacted by the burden of housing instability. We’re proud to continue furthering our commitment to investing in opportunities that promote greater access to affordable housing and the essential services people need on their path to better health.”