FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Washington, DC – August 1, 2012 – Between 2000 and 2010, the number of children living in poverty increased by nearly 30 percent to 15.7 million, with 1.6 million children facing homelessness.
Given the fundamental relationship between living environment and health, the surge in child poverty and homelessness present a significant imperative for the health care system. Homeless children, for example, are sick four times as often as other kids, and one-third will develop at least one major mental disorder by the age of eight. To discuss the role of health plans and health plan foundations in fostering stable housing for families, NIHCM Foundation hosted a webinar on July 26, 2012 that included the following presentations:
- Natalie Coupe from The National Center on Family Homelessness highlighted the dire trends in family homelessness, which has increased 38 percent since 2007, and the traumatic impact of housing instability on children’s health.
- Jocelyn Ancheta from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation described several of the foundation’s efforts to cultivate healthy living environments, including the green rehabilitation of low-income housing units.
- Patrick O’Sullivan from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas showed how health plan foundations are reaching the homeless population by integrating health services and education into homeless shelter programming.
- Barbara DiPietro from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council discussed the impact of the Affordable Care Act, including increased use of community health workers and new models of care coordination, as well as the outreach and enrollment challenges that still remain.
- Jennifer Ho from the US Interagency Council on Homelessness explained the council’s strategic plan to end homelessness by 2020, and stressed that this issue requires close collaboration between the health, education and housing sectors.
NIHCM Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that conducts research on health care issues. The Foundation disseminates research findings and analyses that promote and enhance access to health care and the efficiency and effectiveness of health care services and delivery.
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