CVS Health is investing $18.9 million to build and rehab 150 affordable housing units in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the company’s commitment to advancing health equity by addressing social determinants of health at the local level.
“We’re committed to addressing housing insecurities and other social determinants of health in communities across the country,” said Mike Avotins, east mid-America market president for Aetna, a CVS Health company. “We’re making investments that will provide Columbus seniors and families with equal opportunity to secure housing and access to resources that will help support their health and wellbeing."
The 26 two-story development, called Post Oak Station, will be located at 1383 Vida Way in the Riverbend neighborhood. It will offer health services for residents and will include a childcare facility (operated by local nonprofit Columbus Early Learning Center) that will provide year-round childcare services for children of low- and moderate-income parents. The launch of a new childcare center will help alleviate a daycare desert on the city’s west side, the company said.
According to a study by the Kirwan Institute, Franklin County has the second-highest population of seniors in Ohio. This population is projected to grow by 53% between 2015 – 2030, a rate five times higher than the overall population growth of Franklin County. Seniors in this area, including groups struggling against economic marginalization and those at higher risk of having one or more disabilities, face many challenges and are often dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, in December 2020, evictions in Columbus increased by 20%, exacerbating the eviction crisis in Ohio, CVS Health said.
CVS Health is working with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, which for years has helped people access affordable housing through collaborative partnerships, neighborhood revitalization efforts and has increased access to supportive services. Through CVS Health’s investment, CMHA will build new units and provide existing units with new furnaces, air conditioning units, appliances and water heaters and much-needed repairs to the bathrooms, kitchens and electrical systems.
“The current childcare market in Franklin County, unfortunately, fails too many families, children and businesses,” said CMHA president and CEO Charles Hillman. “We know proximity to childcare is important, especially for parents in lower-wage jobs who often have less flexibility and control over their schedules and who may have to rely on public transportation to get to childcare and work. That is why CMHA is eager to get started on this new development at Post Oak Station in combination with CVS Health and our additional funding partners.”
As CVS Health works to address housing insecurities and social determinants of health in the Columbus area, through December it also will offer Project Health events, the company's free, community-based health screening program. The company hosts these events at CVS Pharmacy locations and community organizations, offering free biometric screenings including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level and body mass index to detect early risks of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
Post Oak Station is the latest affordable housing investment the company has funded in Columbus. Earlier this year, CVS Health invested in Bretton Woods, located at 4836 Cleveland Avenue, which brings the company’s total supportive housing investment in Columbus to $44.6 million.
Since 2020 CVS Health has invested more than $54.5 million in affordable housing in Ohio, creating or preserving more than 1,700 housing units for local individuals and families with the greatest need. As CVS Health continues to address social determinants of health in Columbus, the company said that it also is actively exploring opportunities to increase access to housing in other areas of Ohio.