Bon Secours joins effort to build, sustain affordable housing projects

Bon Secours Mercy Health System has joined five other hospital systems and a set of nonprofit groups to bring more affordable housing to communities including Baltimore.

The hospitals are working with the Center for Community Investment at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a nonprofit group that works for social change, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on health care. The groups support the idea that housing promotes stable, healthy communities.

The initiative, called Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities, aims to help the health systems find local partners and leverage their resources to help their communities.

Bon Secours in Baltimore has long worked with others to bring housing to the hospital’s service area in West Baltimore, developing 802 units so far. More units are in the pipeline, said George Kleb, executive director of Housing & Community Development at Bon Secours Baltimore Health System.

The new partnership will allow it to pursue even more housing in Baltimore and elsewhere that the Bon Secour’s parent company operates. There is no specific amount of money designated, but Bon Secours already is working on its next project, a 58-unit building on Fulton Avenue, he said.

The other systems partnering with the Center for Community Investment are Boston Medical Center; Dignity Health in San Bernardino, Calif.; Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; UPMC in Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Kaiser Permanente in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

The hospitals are expected to develop a plan during the next two years for more affordable housing and devise a way to ensure more investment for the long term.

Several hospital systems already pledged funds for housing, including Kaiser Permanente, which said it would spend $200 million nationwide. Nationwide Children’s and Dignity Health each said they would spend $20 million on specific local projects.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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