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UNC Cares awards grants to address affordable, accessible housing concerns

UNC’s Center for Aging Research and Educational Services (Cares) has awarded $2.4 million in grants to four organizations for their proposed projects to address the state’s availability of affordable and accessible housing and community services for older adults, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and those with traumatic brain injuries.

The grants will be awarded as part of the “Building Capacity for Home and Community-Based Services Through Collective Impact” initiative. Each recipient organization will receive up to $150,000 per contract year to develop and implement initiatives using the collective impact framework. Funding for the project comes from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and covers four years with a possible fifth year renewal.

Awarded Projects

The awardees are:

  • Duke Sanford School of Public Policy (WECARE: Workforce Engagement with Care workers to Assist, Recognize, and Educate). The project proposes a collective approach and statewide effort to improve, recruit, and retain people within the direct care worker workforce. Key partners include: Appalachian State University, the North Carolina Chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the North Carolina Coalition on Aging, and the Public Health Institute.
  • Hope North Carolina (Using Collective Impact to Create Inclusive, Affordable, and Lifelong Communities). The project proposes a collective impact model focused on housing and transportation to create IDEAL (inclusive, diverse, engaging, affordable and lifelong) communities. Key partners include: Alliance Health, CASA, UNC Partnerships in Aging Program
  • Land of Sky Regional Council (Remain at Home – Accessibility Assessment Program) The project collaborates with community health workers around creating a certification to help make homes more livable and sustainable. The program will be implemented in four counties,  two of which are rural. This awardee also will work with transportation planning. Key partners include: Institute for Preventative Care and Advocacy, Mountain Area Health Education Center, RL Mace Universal Design Institute.
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Development Council (Building Natural Supports Through Collective Impact). This project proposes creative approaches to improve the personal associations and relationships that individuals and communities have with each other in Forsyth and Davie counties. The organization will work with individuals, including those with lived experiences, and pillar organizations to initiate this change. Key partners include: Forsyth Department of Social Services, Partners Health Management, Solutions for Independence.

Cares was selected last year to oversee the multi-million dollar community-based services grant program and is collaborating on the initiative with Money Follows the Person, a demonstration project that helps Medicaid-eligible North Carolinians who live in state licensed facilities, including nursing homes, move into their own homes and communities with support.

Availability and access to transportation, staff that provide direct care, as well as friends, neighbors and other connections within the community are especially critical for individuals transitioning from a state licensed facility back into their own homes, noted Gary Nelson, Cares’ director and principal investigator for the project.

“This initiative is about helping to place our fellow citizens at the center of a family and community decision-making process where they decide, with the support of others, on how best to live and manage their lives while also contributing to the lives of their families and communities,” Nelson said.