Health Fair

Navigating Toward Improved Health

Mercy Housing Midwest is excited to announce a new grant that will extend the Health Navigation Program in Nebraska for three more years. In early 2019, Mercy Housing Midwest received startup funding to hire a new Health Navigator to assist residents in accessing key healthcare services to support housing stability. With this new grant, funded through the Catholic Health Initiatives FY20 Mission and Ministry Fund, we will be able to continue this program through 2022. The purpose of the Mission of Ministry Fund is to provide financial support for new initiatives that impact community health.

Health Fair 3
Kids at Crestview Village learn about fun ways to stay active at an on-site health fair.

This grant will offer hundreds of families, across four properties, the support services they need to help improve their mental, emotional, and physical health. The Health Navigation Program has already proven successful in Mercy Housing’s Colorado region, by increasing access to healthcare services and providing individualized and group support.

This program is essential for Nebraskans. The 2018 Mercy Housing Annual Resident Survey, results for our multifamily properties in Nebraska showed that 14% of respondents did not have health insurance coverage, 24% did not have a primary care physician from which they access regular care, and 19% did not access routine care. Additionally, adults with low incomes have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic disorders than wealthier U.S. residents (Urban Institute/Virginia Commonwealth University, 2015).

Keesha will head up the Midwest program as the new Health Navigator. She comes to Mercy Housing with experience as a Provisional Mental Health Practitioner and with a master’s degree in Clinical Counseling. In Keesha’s role, she will work with individuals and groups to connect them to healthcare services needed to improve their overall mental and physical health. She will coordinate specialty services, help identify local primary care providers and medical homes, locate transportation assistance for appointments, field health insurance questions, assist with the state’s benefits application process, facilitate group health and wellness classes, and provide education for residents.

Keesha’s first objective will be to familiarize herself with residents and bring awareness about how she can assist with their healthcare needs. Organizing health fairs for residents will also be a major goal to connect families with other community organizations who offer free or low-cost health care services.

“I have formed good working relationships with the Resident Services Coordinators at each property, and we have some really great program ideas planned for this upcoming fall and winter. I am pleased with how things have started to come together and excited to see what the future holds,” said Keesha.