CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced the company has invested $400,000 in the Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte Critical Home Repair (CHR) program. This investment is part of Blue Cross NC’s ongoing commitment to addressing the root drivers of health issues and improving the living conditions and health of families in the state.
Unaffordable and unstable housing is estimated to cost the United States $111 billion each year in avoidable health-related costs. Poor housing options may contribute to health issues, including chronic disease and injury and poor mental health, due to lack of access to a reliable source of medical care, overcrowding and safety risks such as mold, water leaks and inadequate heating or cooling systems.
“We know a home is much more than a roof over your head,” said Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “A stable home provides a solid foundation for good health. Making sure North Carolinians have access to safe and affordable housing is one of the best ways we can address health issues that affect many in our state.”
Critical Home Repair, managed by Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte, helps vulnerable populations age in the comfort of their own homes by facilitating and subsidizing crucial repairs for low-income and older homeowners. CHR partners with existing homeowners to focus on four basic health and safety categories:
· Unsafe roofing or flooring
· Lack of heat
· Electrical system hazards
· Plumbing hazards
Homes helped by CHR have often fallen into serious disrepair and created unsafe or unlivable conditions. Populations served by CHR are without resources to make the major repairs, which are a crucial aspect of creating communities with affordable housing. While projects vary in scope, the program has already helped nearly 500 families repair their homes and have peace of mind that their housing is safe and reliable.
Home repairs are made by AmeriCorps, volunteers and licensed subcontractors, and managed by Habitat for Humanity site supervisors. In the Charlotte area, Habitat for Humanity anticipates more than 85 CHR projects directly related to health will be completed in 2019: HVAC repairs, lead and mold remediation, asbestos removal, roof and floor repair, and insect infestation removal.
“At Habitat Charlotte, we aim to impact affordable housing from both affordable home construction and affordable home preservation,” shared Laura Belcher, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte. “With a large portion of Charlotte’s existing affordable homes aging and in need of significant repairs, Critical Home Repair offers a way for Habitat Charlotte to improve homeowner health outcomes while retaining these units as part of our city’s affordable housing inventory.”
About Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte:
Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte was founded in 1983 by seven local churches, and has remained a top Habitat for Humanity affiliate since its establishment. Through faith, innovation and passion, and thanks to the support of countless community partners, volunteers, donors and advocates, Habitat Charlotte has made a significant impact in charlotte since its founding. Visit www.habitatcharlotte.org or call 704.376.2054 to learn more.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
 Children’s HealthWatch: Unstable Housing Will Cost U.S. $111 Billion in Avoidable Healthcare Costs, National Low Income Housing Coalition, July 2018