Among the most important public health findings over the last two decades has been that there are a number of factors, beyond medical care, that influence health and contribute to premature mortality. The Bipartisan Policy Center has worked extensively to highlight the importance of one such factor—safe, affordable housing—recognizing that the integration of health and housing has the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce costs borne by the health care system.
There are many ongoing and productive partnerships between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) at this nexus of health and housing. Generally, these collaborations help the departments to break down their siloed decision-making, more fully capitalize on their respective expertise, maximize limited funding, and more efficiently and impactfully fulfill both their missions. Yet their work is far from finished; pressing challenges make continued and close collaboration between the two departments during the Trump administration more important than ever.
In any administration, given limited resources, limited time, and a host of pressing challenges, only certain priorities can rise to the top. To better understand the priorities of the new leadership teams in HUD and HHS, we conducted dozens of interviews with housing and health experts, stakeholders, and HUD and HHS staff—career and politically appointed. We also relied on the input of a bipartisan advisory group of former HUD and HHS leaders.
In addition to this qualitative outreach effort, the departments’ strategic plans and President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget also provided us with a guide to the administration’s key priorities. For FY2019, the president requests $1,216 billion for HHS and $42 billion for HUD. The requests reflect strategic and analytical input from across the two departments. From these sources, we have identified promising process and programmatic areas for partnership opportunities.