Investing in Housing for Better Health

Healthcare isn’t just doctors and medicines. It’s healthy living – and a healthy place to live. The quality of your home can affect both mental and physical health. A recent op-ed from The Fayetteville Observer shares efforts from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to make health-centered home repairs for low-income families.

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The op-ed was penned by Patrick Conway, the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. As part of an effort to address the non-medical social determinants of health in our state, the insurer partnered with North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCCAA), a statewide association of North Carolina’s 34 Community Action Agencies, to make home improvement repairs and upgrades in disadvantaged communities. An investment of $2 million was made to help nearly 700 households across our state. 

The Fayetteville Observer shares:

“Americans spend about 60 percent of their time inside their homes. For nearly two-thirds of each day, our home is our environment. So it only makes sense that the place where we spend most of our time has a major impact on our overall health.

Having a place to live is, of course, the starting point, but we need more than just four walls and a roof to be healthy. We need homes that protect our health, not threaten it. That means replacing old, moldy carpeting with easy-to-clean hard surfaces; getting rid of any pests that may be living behind walls; installing monitors to alert homeowners to carbon monoxide or fire; or making changes that can improve accessibility and prevent falls.”

These updates can be unaffordable for many families struggling to make ends meet. In Fayetteville’s Cumberland County, Action Pathways, a local agency associated with NCCAA, will use nearly $500,000 to upgrade more than 175 homes across Southeastern North Carolina.

The aim is to improve individual and familial health and quality of life, thereby improving the health of the community. Home is where the heart is, but it is also where healthy habits and living begin. Hopefully, other local and state leaders and companies will follow suit in their future donations and spending to help improve the home lives of all North Carolinians.

For the full op-ed, visit The Fayetteville Observer.

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