The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) applauds the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Call to Action announced today , and CLPHA was honored to be the only housing organization to sign the letter of commitment to the action. This recognition speaks to CLPHA’s leadership in health equity and long-standing dedication to improving maternal health among residents of CLPHA’s member public housing authorities (PHAs).
CLPHA launched its commitment to maternal health and many other health-related issues with the creation of the pioneering Housing Is Initiative in 2015. Housing Is helps broaden and launch efforts to align housing, education, and health organizations to produce positive long-term outcomes for those experiencing poverty. Collaboration across systems and sectors—through shared goals, focused resources and coordinated efforts—strengthens our collective ability to serve the needs of low-income individuals and families effectively and efficiently, and our work’s focus includes young mothers who are disproportionately impacted by housing insecurity.
“The Biden-Harris Administration’s decision to lift maternal health to a White House initiative reflects their continuing commitment to address issues impacting low-income families,” said Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. “From the American Rescue Plan Act that contained an expansion of emergency rental assistance and the child tax credit to the Build Back Better Act that expands housing opportunities for low-income families, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a transformational investment in America’s low-income women and families.”
Maternal health is an issue embedded with racial, health and housing disparities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. With the majority of PHA residents being Black, indigenous or people of color, PHAs understand they play a critical role in addressing racial inequities through increased focus on maternal health.
CLPHA’s members have been at the forefront of developing programs around maternal health for their residents. The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and CelebrateOne partnered to create Healthy Beginnings at Home, an initiative to reduce infant mortality through a housing intervention. The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority has partnered with the Full Term First Birthday Initiative to replicate the Healthy Beginnings at Home program. The Boston Housing Authority and Boston Public Health Commission created the Healthy Start in Housing Program that provides housing for homeless men and women with very small children with medical issues, as well as pregnant women experiencing homelessness.
CLPHA looks forward to supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Call to Action with its own activities, including a Martin Luther King Jr. Day virtual event on Jan. 18, 2022 that will discuss how racial discrimination has jointly impacted housing inequities and maternal health outcomes and the interaction of these two disparities. During the 2022 Housing Is Summit on May 18-19, 2022, CLPHA will also hold a leadership panel to discuss how different sectors can come together to create innovative solutions for the maternal health crisis in this country.