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On the Path to Health Equity: Building Capacity to Measure Health Outcomes in Community Development

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This new report by Enterprise Community Partners and NeighborWorks America shows how an innovative pilot program – the Health Outcomes Demonstration Project – equipped 20 affordable housing and community development organizations to evaluate health outcomes across a range of programs.

The evaluated programs include neighborhood improvement and community safety initiatives, youth education and services, housing improvement, service coordination for residents in crisis, as well as housing-based services that focus on nutrition, physical activity, financial literacy, social activities, mental health and employment.

The project, jointly developed and implemented by Enterprise and NeighborWorks America, deployed an innovative set of 65 health outcome measurement tools developed by Success Measures on topics ranging from attitudes about health to the accessibility of health care and community resources. In addition, each organization received technical assistance, financial support and peer-learning opportunities to support their evaluation of a range of community-based programs, from supportive housing for the formerly homeless to financial capability services.

By the end of the project, the organizations had acquired the language, evaluation tools and evidence needed to connect their work with health outcomes. As a result, they are now equipped to engage in deeper partnerships with the health sector, bringing their expertise, evidence base and solutions to strategically address the root causes of persistent health disparities.  As the report title highlights, this project provided an important step forward on the path to health equity.