On November 3, 2022, the Stanford Social Innovation Review released a new article as part of their Collaboration for Housing Justice Series. “Housing and Health: Creating Solutions with Communities” provides findings from the Kresge Foundation from their 31 grantees who are working in the intersection of housing, health, and community action. The authors' key recommendation for funders undertaking this work is to fund community-driven solutions and community power.
The Advancing Health Equity Through Housing (HEH) funding initiative funded 31 grantees across the country to develop innovative solutions to the inequities occurring at the intersection of health and housing. Many of these organizations were local, grassroots organizations, with a smaller group of the grantees working as intermediaries to build partnerships across organizations. This grant program found that it was important to take a developmental- and learning-focused approach to grant making, as well as to be responsive to changes in the environment and the community. The grantees found it was important to learn about and center community power with three guiding principles:
- Recognizing residents as experts and engaging them in decision-making.
- Building collective community power by building up individual power.
- Fueling narrative change with community power.
HEH additionally shared that centering relationships in the process over trying to stick to arbitrary implementation timelines was important for reaching lasting and equitable relational infrastructure, particularly when working with community members and organizations. From this experience, Kresge learned that they as grant makers must allow for flexibility in their grant structures along with funding relationship building and community engagement.