This blog was created to explore how the health and community development sectors can collaborate to promote better health outcomes for low-income people and communities by addressing issues concerning the social determinants of health. Blog postings will focus on the following topics:

New Resources. As traditional health funders begin to understand the strong integration between health outcomes and physical environments, there are many new potential partnerships between health-oriented foundations (Robert Wood Johnson, Kaiser Family Foundation, The California Endowment, and others in the Grantmakers In Health group) and new government programs (Healthy Foods Financing Initiative, anti-childhood obesity programs like Let’s Move!, charter school financing, early care programs). Harmonizing these new funding streams with the traditional community development programs (investment and lending motivated by the Community Reinvestment Act, New Markets Tax Credits, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, etc) will be both a challenge and an opportunity. Innovating new directions with existing funds will be equally challenging, requiring creative energy from both fields.

New Partners. The important work of the housing and community development sector could be much more effective when joined with other partners (e.g., early care and education programs, nutrition programs, and the like). To do this requires sharing of knowledge between many sectors, with health and community development being the most immediately promising.

New Ideas. The health sector has a much more sophisticated approach to data collection and outcomes measurement. Community development could learn much in this area. Similarly, as the health sector tries to improve nutrition and recreation opportunities in low-income neighborhoods, it can learn from the sophisticated and networked approach community development uses to implement its programs.

Huge Long-term Cost Savings. At a recent community development conference at the San Francisco Fed, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Raphael Bostic asserted that one of the main benefits to Promise and Choice Neighborhoods is better health and subsequent cost savings.

Interested in posting on the Healthy Communities blog?  Contact Ian Galloway at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco: ian.galloway@sf.frb.org