Health Plan News

Blue Plus Supports Housing Stability Initiatives

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) and Blue Plus (Blue Plus) is funding support for six organizations and their respective efforts to increase housing stability for Minnesotans in need. The Blue Plus funding support is designed to alleviate social barriers to health that contribute to health inequities.

“Stable housing has a significant influence on health and the ability to get needed care,” said Christine Reiten, vice president of Medicaid at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “We developed the housing flex finance in response to comments from public health officials and community organizations about what was required in the local level to enhance health.”

Insufficient housing leads to health problems like chronic diseases and accidents and may have harmful effects on childhood development. While Minnesota has experienced a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of lease throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, those protections are temporary and point to the bigger issue of insufficient affordable housing and elevated rates of cost-burdened Minnesotans who spend 30 percent or more of the income on housing.

The Blue Plus housing bend fund supports county- and community-led Housing stability attempts. Funding distributions in 2020 include:

— $100,000 into CommUNITY AMHI for housing assistance and landlord participation programming in Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties
— $50,000 to Lutheran Social Services for home assistance programming in Anoka and Ramsey counties
— $25,000 into Northwest Community Action for inmate reintroduction programming at Roseau county
— $50,000 to Sherburne County Health and Human Services for rental Aid and flooding protection programming
— $100,000 into St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services for services and programming related to home
— $75,000 into Violence Intervention Program for historic home and landlord hazard mitigation programming in Central Minnesota

Blue Cross is dedicated to changing care, inspiring change and Improving health. Nearly 80 percent of general health stems from health inequities and social, behavioral and other non-clinical determinants, highlighting the value of encouraging the drivers of good health as an effective strategy to prevent bad health.

The Blue Plus housing bend fund is in addition to Home Stabilization Services which are available through Minnesota Medical Assistance benefits to help people with disabilities– including mental Illness and substance use disorder– and seniors find and maintain housing.

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