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Community Close Ups: Profiles of Community Development Partnerships for Health

Created by PHI’s Build Healthy Places Network, this series of in-depth case studies showcases innovative cross-sector partnerships addressing the social determinants and health inequities across the country.

  • Ashley Hernandez, DaJaneil McCree, Jeni Miller, Zachary D. Travis
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Community developers are partnering to create neighborhoods where everyone can be healthier

Created by PHI’s Build Healthy Places Network, the Community Close Ups series spotlights community development projects that are making a real difference in neighborhoods. Each profile breaks down the nuts and bolts of these innovative projects, uplifting stories that exemplify the power of cross-sector partnership that impact health and well-being. 

Explore the full Community Close Ups series
Renaissance Heights United Building

Renaissance Heights United, Fort Worth, Texas

Written by Ashley Hernandez and Zachary Travis

Renaissance Heights United (RHU) is a 200-acre site in the Mason Heights area, located in the southeast portion of Fort Worth, Texas. Before the 2006 purchase by Fort Worth Mason Heights, this site was home to the Masonic Home and School of Texas (a home for widows and orphans). Grounded in a range of valuable partnerships, RHU and its partners crafted a shared vision to transform the vacant 200-acre site into an area providing family, education, and community health services as well as economic development opportunities. Through a joint effort to change the state’s allocation of low-income housing tax credits, these partners also collectively rallied behind a common goal to ensure the residents they served had access to stable and affordable housing.

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Students at their White Coat Ceremony, marking their transition into the Health Sciences Academies.

Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT)

Written by Zachary D. Travis

In 2010 Ohio State University (OSU), City of Columbus, and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) came together to form the planning organization, Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT). These three organizations initially came together when an income tax rebate given to OSU by the City of Columbus required a commitment to financial investment in the Near East Side of Columbus. That single tax rebate incentive spurred a decade-long transformation and investment into a historically neglected community, with more than $300 million in total investments to date and over fifty partners. PACT, now solely supported by Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, continues to execute the community-led blueprint and successfully champion the transformation of Columbus’ Near East Side.

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Canyon Echo Apartments

Intermountain Healthcare & The Utah Housing Preservation Fund

Written by Ashley Hernandez; 7/2/2021

Utah is facing a looming housing crisis as the state continues to experience a shortage of affordable housing. In a place where demand is far outpacing supply, the state is mobilizing around efforts to not only build new housing stock but to maintain its current supply of affordable units before residents are priced out of their homes. One of the champions spearheading this strategy is Intermountain Healthcare, a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system (both health provider and payor) headquartered in Utah. Intermountain joined forces with a foundation, a CDC (Community Development Corporation), and a bank to create the Utah Housing Preservation Fund, which is tackling the crisis through investments in maintaining Utah’s affordable housing supply.

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Westlake community center

The West Lakes Community Wellness Center, Orlando, Florida

Written by Ashley Hernandez and DaJaneil McCree; 3/18/2021

Founded in 2013, Lift Orlando is a non-profit organization that invests in the power of the neighborhood by placing focus on people, place, and partnership. The organization was founded by a group of business leaders who were driven to partner with residents to break the cycle of poverty. With a vision of breaking down the systemic barriers that prevent underinvested communities from achieving health and wellness, Lift Orlando works on neighborhood revitalization with a focus on neighborhoods that have been historically disinvested along racial and economic lines. Their first neighborhood reconstruction project launched a partnership with Florida Citrus Sports that aimed to revitalize the neighborhoods surrounding the Camping World Stadium, an area rich with African American heritage.

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building with sign saying "PROMEDICA EBEID CENTER"

Market on the Green Grocery Store, Toledo, Ohio

Written by DaJaneil McCree; 3/17/2021

The UpTown neighborhood holds a unique place in the history of Toledo, Ohio. In the late 1800s trolley lines were implemented, providing transportation to downtown and heightening the district’s appeal. By the early twentieth century, there was increased demand for housing and a growing population that spurred commercial development. Today, UpTown remains a central neighborhood of Toledo with a dynamic art scene. However, the neighborhood also faces adversity, with more than half of the residents living below the poverty line and high rates of chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes. Nevertheless, the UpTown community is resilient, evolving, and full of promise. It is also home to a health care system’s $50 million initiative aimed at addressing social determinants of health that includes the development of a full-service neighborhood grocery store, Market on the Green. 

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group of children sitting at a table eating

Vita Health & Wellness District, Stamford, Connecticut

Written by Jeni Miller; 10/13/2017

In the early 2000s, Stamford Hospital began planning a major expansion. Located in Stamford, Connecticut’s West Side neighborhood, the 305-bed regional hospital envisioned a large new state-of-the-art addition to its facility. The hospital owned various pieces of real estate in the nearby neighborhood, but none were contiguous with its existing campus. Meanwhile, Charter Oak Communities (COC), a public-private entity that evolved out of the Stamford Housing Authority, was exploring ways to replace its outdated public housing complexes on the West Side.

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group of people at Potrero Hill

Rebuild Potrero, San Francisco, California

Written by Jeni Miller; 10/12/2017

Susan Neufeld, Vice President of Resident Programs and Services for BRIDGE Housing Corporation (BRIDGE), describes the existing 606-unit Potrero Terrace and Annex housing projects as “an island of poverty in a sea of wealth.” Unlike many distressed public housing complexes that are surrounded by other disadvantaged neighborhoods, residents of Potrero Terrace and Annex, with a median annual income of $14,000, are surrounded by Potrero Hill neighbors making ten times that much.

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Originally published by Build Healthy Places Network


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