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Health Share working on $15 million housing benefit demonstration project with collaborative partners

Health Share working on $15 million housing benefit demonstration project with collaborative partners

Illustrated image of multiple types of people inside a house shape - representing housing options

Working collaboratively with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Health Share is proposing a defined housing benefit through Medicaid for those at-risk of losing their housing during times critical to their health. The Health Share collaborative has committed $15 million to a targeted demonstration project of this benefit package for specific members throughout 2022. 

For now, this demonstration program supports members who are transitioning from institutional and inpatient settings who are at risk of losing their housing or who are houseless. The program uses a combination of existing authorities, flexibility from OHA in administration of Health Related Services, and other flexible funding to cover remaining gaps to create a pathway to stable housing in the community that has clear criteria and is available to all that qualify. These gaps could include assistance finding housing, rent support, fees associated with moving, furniture, landlord advocacy and much more 

These Medicaid-focused housing solutions align with the state’s proposed changes to the 1115 Waiver for 2023 through 2027. Health Share’s plan aligns with these proposed changes, and initiates the process sooner rather than later, allowing a direct path to meaningful solutions. 

The housing benefit includes supportive services that help people get into housing and stay housed and up to 9 months in rent assistance. Health Share estimates that between 4,500 and 6,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties could be eligible for this benefit. 

For now, this flexible housing benefit supports Health Share members in specific circumstances;  members aging out of foster care, members leaving a substance use disorder residential program, or those transitioning out of corrections. All of these groups have a high risk for potentially becoming homeless. For many of these folks, even a few months of transitional assistance can be enough to help them establish permanent housing.   

OHSU Health IDS is the Central Benefit Administrator for the housing benefit. Health Share is working collaboratively with OHSU Health IDS Moda Health, Central City Concern and other community benefit organizations, county governments, and others to get these housing benefits to eligible members.