Anchor institutions, such as hospitals and universities, can be important catalysts for urban economic and community development. They can take on a variety of roles—from community infrastructure builder to purchaser of local goods and services to developer of real estate. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nonprofit hospitals and other health care institutions have new obligations and opportunities to embrace their role as community anchors by pursuing activities that focus on addressing the comprehensive health needs in their communities. In the years to come, health care institutions can become more actively involved in supporting the development of safe, decent and affordable housing, a key social determinant of health. This brief describes those opportunities and provides specific guidance for how affordable housing and community development organizations can successfully partner with anchor institutions to improve neighborhoods and expand housing opportunities.
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