“Increasing access to housing and services like preventive screenings put people in a better position to take care of their health or manage chronic disease,” said David Casey, chief diversity officer, CVS Health. “As part of our commitment to address social justice and racial inequity, we’re addressing social determinants of health like housing and access to health care at the community level, which is where we can make a meaningful and lasting impact.”
CVS Health will invest $8.7 million to help build a new 116-unit affordable housing complex in the Mercy Drive neighborhood of Orlando, Florida. The Fairlawn Village development is part of the City of Orlando’s Mercy Drive Vision Plan. Data compiled as part of that plan indicate approximately 83% of Mercy Road area residents identify as African American. Additionally, almost half of the area’s households are below the poverty income threshold, with a median household income of $17,846. About 55% of area households pay greater than 30% of their income on housing.
The development will include three buildings, a community center, playgrounds, on-site laundry facilities and onsite management offices. All residents will have access to on-site supportive services including adult literacy, employment assistance and financial management programs. Of the 116 units, 20 will be designated as permanent supportive housing with casework services for people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, people with a disability or youth aging out of foster care. Local nonprofit Community Assisted and Supported Living, Inc., or CASL, will provide support to formerly homeless residents who move in to the supportive housing units.
“The City of Orlando is committed to ensuring that every person who lives in Orlando feels equally valued and has equal access to opportunity and this includes having equal access to safe, high quality housing they can afford,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “As part of the Mercy Drive Vision Plan, residents envisioned new housing to complement the existing neighborhood. We’re grateful to the incredible partnership with Blue Sky Communities and the investment of CVS Health in the 116-unit Fairlawn Village which will be a thriving new community for our residents to call home.”
Additionally, the company plans a 2021 expansion to Orlando of its no-cost preventive screening program, Project Health. This program offers free biometric screenings at CVS Pharmacy locations to help identify chronic conditions before they become life-threatening illnesses. Worth over $100 in value, screenings measure body mass index, blood pressure, glucose and total cholesterol. The screenings can detect early risks for chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
“As we expand Project Health to Orlando in 2021, we anticipate being able to reach thousands of people locally and provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in free medical services in the first year alone,” said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, CVS Health.
Following the screening, event participants receive an individual health access plan with suggestions related to clinical targets for screening measures as well as nutrition and fitness. Participants will have the opportunity to consult with CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners who can help explain the risks of certain measures from each screening, how to take the appropriate next steps with a provider. These clinicians can also provide smoking cessation counseling and diabetes resources, if appropriate.
The company will hold the Project Health events at select CVS Pharmacy locations in areas of greater Orlando with higher populations of uninsured and underinsured people, including locations nearby the Mercy Drive neighborhood.
As it works to address social determinants of health in the Orlando area, the company is also exploring opportunities to expand its national workforce initiatives program in greater Orlando to provide employment services and training to the community, focused on empowerment and building local relationships that will help community members achieve meaningful employment opportunities.