Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island supports affordable housing development with $75K grant

PROVIDENCE, RI – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has awarded Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island a grant of $75,000. The funds will support LISC’s Neighborhood Development Fund, which provides funding, training, resources and technical assistance in an effort to strengthen the operations of community development corporations (CDCs) to produce affordable housing while addressing broader community revitalization issues.

“We are honored to partner with LISC Rhode Island in their ongoing and important commitment to building community through investments that improve and increase housing stock, clean up vacant lots, and give dilapidated buildings new purpose,” said Carolyn Belisle, BCBSRI managing director of community relations. “Our support of the Neighborhood Development Fund aims to leverage LISC Rhode Island’s expertise to provide the necessary assistance to ensure that investments lead to projects that are well structured, appropriately financed, built on time and on budget.”

Belisle continued, “This type of critical work is at the core of Blue Cross’ commitment to improving the health and well-being of our Rhode Island communities, particularly our focus on increasing affordable housing accessibility for all.”

BCBSRI’s grant will help provide additional resources to the pool available for CDCs to enhance their ability to hire and retain specialized staff (ex. executive directors, finance officers and real estate development managers); implement portfolio stabilizing asset management strategies; and adopt new eviction prevention methodologies.

“The link between safe, affordable housing and healthcare is becoming very clear and one of the most important ways of addressing health equity,” said Jeanne Cola, executive director of LISC Rhode Island.  “Blue Cross is a valued partner and a strong advocate in the mission to create housing security for Rhode Islanders.”

This grant is the latest in BCBSRI’s recent expansion of philanthropic giving to include housing. This follows last year’s release of the RI Life Index, a data resource focused on life factors, or social determinants of health (SDoH), which influence health and well-being. Specifically, the RI Life Index found availability of, and access to, safe and affordable housing is a significant concern and challenge for many Rhode Islanders.

Housing is one of the best-researched social determinants of health, and selected housing interventions, particularly for low-income people, have been found to improve health outcomes. This grant to LISC Rhode Island joins a series of grants provided by BCBSRI since the release of the RI Life Index, now totaling nearly $800,000; each focused on increasing awareness of the need for, and improving access to, affordable housing in Rhode Island.

About Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (bcbsri.com) is a non-profit, community-focused health plan established in 1939 to help Rhode Islanders finance their healthcare needs. We have a vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island. And we are committed to improving the health and peace of mind of our nearly 400,000 members by facilitating their access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. We celebrate our 80th anniversary in 2019, and we take pride in our Rhode Island legacy and are committed to the community for the next 80 years and beyond.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit BCBS.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.