Housing investment pays off in lower heath care costs

Innovative partnership addresses homelessness, health care costs

In 2017, Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) and The University of Vermont Medical Center launched an effort to address homelessness and stem the growth in health care spending.

Using funds invested by UVM Medical Center, CHT converted the Bel Aire Motel on Shelburne Road in Burlington into eight rental apartments. These will house people who are either frequent users of health care services or patients who no longer need hospital care but need a place to live.

After renovations were complete, the Bel Aire Apartments opened in July. They will provide short-term and permanent options for people who are living in tents, on the street, or who lack a safe place to recover and so remain in the hospital.

Those in the eight apartments will have access to on-site case management and social services from the Community Health Centers of Burlington, referrals for home health services or continued care by their providers.

Connecting people with the tools and services they need to stay out of the hospital helps us manage health care costs statewide. Treating housing as an integral piece of health care has been proven to help patients recover and begin to build a foundation for better health.

The Bel Aire Apartments is another great community partnership that helps to keep people healthy and out of the hospital. ”

Steve Leffler, MD, chief quality and population health officer for the UVM Health Network