Bon Secours Mercy's eviction program improved health equity

Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health released the results of its almost two-year long housing stability program April 21, which showed it was successful in stabilizing tenants and may have contributed to health equity and outcomes. 

Since December 2020, the system has been running a 21-month eviction and foreclosure prevention program that targets the Bond Hill area near one of its locations. Working alongside the Reinvestment Fund and Greater Ohio Policy Center, the system tried to understand how preventing unnecessary evictions affected community health, economics and wellbeing. 

The program connected eligible residents to CARES funding and also brought in $300,000 worth of financial assistance and support services to prevent foreclosure and eviction for more than 200 at-risk households. The program helped 90 percent of participants remain in the same apartment or house seven months after they received assistance, and it was estimated that without the support, evictions could have been 40 percent higher, and foreclosure filings could have doubled.

The results of the program showed that the support people received helped improve health equity and stability. Just over two-thirds of the recipients of the support said someone in their household lived with a chronic disease or mental illness and that the support may have prevented negative health outcomes. Half of the participants also said that the program helped them quarantine and avoid overcrowded living conditions. 

"We are heartened that the analysis showed that our program succeeded in its aims on a number of levels," said Gina Hemenway, executive director  of community health at Mercy Health, Cincinnati. "This gives us a blueprint for expanding and/or replicating our efforts in other areas where BSMH operates."

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