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"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6
August 2020
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Home Matters® to Arizona Launches First Phase of Movement for Better Homes and Communities in Arizona with Planned $100 Million Fund
By Lisa Padilla - Friday Jul 31, 2020
Home Matters®, a national movement redefining the American Dream and home, is launching Home Matters to Arizona to grow support for a new generation of affordable housing, connected communities and healthier individuals, families and economies. Phase one of the Arizona launch includes a planned $100 million Home Matters® Arizona Fund to finance community development and affordable housing projects that proactively foster connected and healthier lives.

Home Matters Arizona Fund intends to address affordable housing needs at scale, adding critical housing units to a system that has left far too many unsheltered while broadening the mind-set of housing developers beyond the four walls of a home.

Born from a collaboration of the Arizona Association of Health Plans, whose member companies contract with the State’s Medicaid program to serve the health care needs of Arizona’s most vulnerable citizens, the fund seeks projects that align with the values established by the Home Matters national movement.

Founding Home Matters Arizona Fund participants have committed $2 million in charitable grant funding. Participants include Arizona Complete Health, Banner – University Health Plan, Care1st Health Plan Arizona, Health Choice Arizona, Magellan Complete Care of Arizona, Mercy Care, The NARBHA Institute and UnitedHealthcare.

Aetna, a CVS Health company, Dignity Health and UnitedHealthcare have also committed $35 million in debt financing. The balance is expected to be raised over the next two years through below market debt financing and charitable grants leveraging government, philanthropy and national private investment.

“The goal of this fund is broader than typical affordable housing projects. It catapults a new way of thinking about affordable housing in Arizona by prioritizing project collaborations that are intentional, multi-faceted and multi-sector approached. We aim to address complex challenges that improve lives and strengthen whole communities,” said Joe Gaudio, CEO West Region, UnitedHealthcare Community & State and Home Matters Arizona Fund advisory council member. “Everyone wins when we focus on the social determinants of health and create supportive ecosystems for people where they live, learn, shop and work.”

“Increasing the availability of affordable housing can help improve health outcomes, especially for individuals with chronic health conditions,” said Garth Graham, MD, MPH, Vice President, Community Health and Chief Community Health Officer, CVS Health. “Particularly as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, collaboration across public and private organizations to provide safe and secure housing options can truly impact the lives of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

“We all need a home in order to live a healthy life,” said Linda Hunt, senior vice president of operations and chief executive officer for Dignity Health in Arizona. “We also need to live in safe neighborhoods with the services and resources that help families and communities flourish. For generations, Dignity Health hospitals have been working with others to support people who are vulnerable or struggling, and we’re grateful to join this partnership as an extension of that work.”

The Home Matters Arizona Fund is prioritizing and funding promising projects throughout the state positioned to demonstrate measurable and positive outcomes focused on specific populations, geographic areas and the community at-large. The fund addresses Arizona’s rising affordability crisis while paying much-needed attention to the role of housing justice for underrepresented families and communities. The fund will invest in projects that serve individuals and families with low to moderate income, veterans, seniors, people who are homeless, people with disabilities, individuals involved with the justice system and those eligible for Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) support.

Fund eligibility criteria include:

· Overall Project Impact

· Demographic & Geographic Focus

· Housing Justice

· Connectedness to Community

· Intentional Collaboration

· Resident Engagement/Community Life

Home Matters to Arizona is hosting in two educational webinars scheduled for July 21 at 8:30a and July 28 at 8:30a to share more about the fund criteria.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national community development financial institution with a local office based in Phoenix, will provide underwriting and other asset management services to the fund.

“The idea of home is not being realized for far too many families in communities across the country, which is why we established the Home Matters movement in 2013,” said Dave Brown, co-founder and current board member of Home Matters and Advisory Council Member for Home Matters to Arizona.

This innovative fund was first discussed during a work group meeting of the Governor’s Goal Council to Reduce Homelessness. According to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, “This initiative will focus on supporting individuals and families in need, growing affordable housing and promoting healthier communities. My thanks to Home Matters To Arizona for their work to support those in need throughout the state.”

“Home is fundamental to the strength of our state and our country,” explains Brown. “Homes support people’s identities, protect and nurture families, and serve as the base for stronger communities and a more resilient Arizona.”

About Home Matters to Arizona

Home Matters to Arizona is the first statewide initiative of Home Matters®, a national movement uniting America around home. The first phase of Home Matters to Arizona involves creating the new $100 million Home Matters Arizona Fund, leveraging government, philanthropy and national private investment. Initial grants are from health plans, the private half of the public-private partnership model that comprises the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). Future phases will focus on collaboratively building awareness and influencing standard practices for developing more affordable homes and better communities across Arizona. Learn more at http://www.HomeMattersArizona.com.

By Rachael Curley