At The Colorado Health Foundation, we know that housing and health are inextricably linked. A safe, affordable, and high-quality home is the foundation for which good health outcomes can be achieved. Where we call home affects our physical health and our economic and employment opportunities, educational attainment, access to healthy foods and transportation, as well as other vital community resources. The quality of our health depends on the quality and affordability of our housing.

Before COVID-19, structural racism in our nation’s housing system contributed to stark and persistent inequities. Over the past decade, Colorado’s housing market has become unaffordable to many of the state’s residents living with low incomes. When it comes to the pandemic, a recent poll shows that people of color, people living with low incomes (making $30,000 or less), and women are more likely to say the worst is yet to come (The Colorado Health Foundation 2020). In the wake of COVID-19, these barriers are further exacerbated, which will undoubtedly lead to greater health inequities. This housing crisis will only deepen the many health inequities at work if not immediately and intentionally addressed.

Knowing that COVID-19 caused programmatic and financial uncertainty, the foundation modified existing grant agreements to help grantees meet urgent and evolving needs of the communities. Those included the suspension of reporting requirements, the provision of no-cost extensions, and added flexibility to project and capacity building grants.

The foundation also embraced the concept of nimbleness and created a donation channel to expedite needed funding into Colorado communities. Donations were designed to support organizations focused on individuals and families experiencing homelessness, those advocating for tenant rights and eviction prevention, and low-income housing provider technical assistance across the state.

Read the full article about housing and health by Amy S. Duggan of The Colorado Health Foundation at Funders Together to End Homelessness.