Health Starts at Home Interim Findings

Health Starts at Home has been a five-year initiative hosted by the Boston Foundation to bring together housing and health-care organizations to pilot new approaches that focus on the active benefits of stable, affordable housing on children’s health outcomes. Health Starts at Home has supported partnerships among housing and health-care organizations with the goal of:

  • Highlighting the importance of affordable housing in children’s health outcomes;
  • Identifying promising new and existing models for partnership that can be brought to scale to improve children’s health outcomes;
  • Decreasing health-care costs; and
  • Decreasing costs related to homelessness

Housing Prescriptions as Health Care
This partnership strove to create a seamless system of services for children under age four whose families are high users of emergency health-care services. Medical staff members often do not ask about a family’s housing situation because they cannot offer “treatment.” This model has built on the existing Children’s HealthWatch interview protocol, enabling trained interviewers to ask validated questions and link families to care coordination services at Project Hope. Intensive case management has helped families find, retain and improve their housing by linking services of benefits maximization, legal services, problem solving education and priority access to public housing units.