Op-Ed: The answer to Kentucky’s housing crisis is about finding ways to come together

By Leon Lamoreaux, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Kentucky Medicaid President

The following op-ed was written by Leon Lamoreaux, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid President in Kentucky.

Hopping from one couch to another with just a handful of clothes on his back, John longed for somewhere to call ‘home.’ Until one call changed his life forever.

Last year, John was connected to the support and resources that eventually led to meaningful employment and stability he hadn’t experienced in years.

He was gifted stable housing that included living essentials like utilities, furniture, and cleaning supplies.

The call that changed John’s life was to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid’s Empowerment Team, a statewide group of dedicated individuals that connects Medicaid members to resources and programs in the community, like the Housing Flex Fund – a $300,000 investment established by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield that connects Kentuckians to housing solutions.

This important work is at the heart of everything we do.

John’s story is not an isolated incident. He is one of countless others who are living day-to-day, couch-by-couch.

At a time when our cities, our state and our nation are grappling with a lack of attainable housing, we must find workable, unique solutions to the problem. And the Housing Flex Fund is exactly that.

In the U.S., more than 580,000people will experience homelessness on any given day. In Kentucky, the rate is just as alarming: more than 4,000 Kentuckians will experience homelessness, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.  

No community has been spared. Cities, suburbs, and rural areas across the Commonwealth have all been impacted.

To make matters worse, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that Kentucky has a 77,000-unit shortage of affordable housing, resulting in over 60 percent of low-income households in our state priced out of these options.

Everyone deserves safe, secure and stable housing. We know that equitable access to housing helps people live healthier lives, prevent chronic illness, keep their jobs, and build brighter financial futures.

In the six months since its launch, the Housing Flex Fund has provided nearly $70,000 in financial assistance to those in need. However, more than monetary support, these funds have provided hope.

Stable housing is quite literally the foundation that leads to healthier, longer lives. However, no one person or one program can solve the growing housing crisis. It requires a collaborative effort, and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is at the forefront of leading that charge.

We are committed to helping others find hope in the future by working in concert with our community partners and investing in more solutions.

For more information on the Housing Flex Fund, please visit anthem.com or follow along at facebook.com/AnthemBlueCrossBlueShield. The Housing Flex Fund builds on several recent community initiatives. To date, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid has pledged $160,000 to improve health outcomes for Kentuckians experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.

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