April 2002

Health Care Systems Open Doors for Mercy Housing

The exemplary efforts and goodwill of these Catholic health systems is why the Strategic Healthcare Partnership is so significant.

Mercypeople Photo

Solutions to the affordable housing crisis vary from one community to another, but they have a fundamental element in common: political will. Developing affordable housing is a multifaceted process that includes assessing needs, evaluating site surveys and zoning conditions, securing land, working with local planning commissions and obtaining financial commitments. However, the ever-present NIMBY ("not in my backyard") issue means that winning the support of local government leaders is a critical piece of the development process." Mercy Housing, a Catholic-sponsored organization that builds quality, affordable housing to support healthy communities, relies on the reputations of the members of its Strategic Healthcare Partnership – including Catholic Health Initiatives – to help win that support. For example, Catholic Health Initiatives market-based organizations have helped Mercy Housing acquire properties in Tacoma, Wash., for the development of multifamily housing and secure approval of a tax credit application for a senior housing project in Eagle, Idaho. Another example of how Mercy Housing’s Strategic Healthcare Partnership helps the organization break new ground comes from Anaheim, Calif. St. Joseph Health System’s history of advocacy and connections in Orange County opened doors to planning commissioners, city council members and other key decision makers, helping Mercy Housing’s effort to build a senior development in Anaheim come together expeditiously. As a result, Mercy Housing has begun building 81 units of affordable housing in Anaheim for seniors who earn 50 percent or less of the area median income. The development will include a 1,600-square-foot community building with a computer laboratory offering high-speed Internet access, a kitchen, a community room and staff offices. The project should be completed by the end of 2002. "The exemplary efforts and goodwill of these Catholic health systems is why the Strategic Healthcare Partnership is so significant," said Mary Lovett, director of communications for Mercy Housing. "By working together, we are building a housing/ health care alliance that is fostering healthy communities throughout the nation." For more information about Mercy Housing, visit its Web site at www.mercyhousing.org.