Health systems vs. the housing crisis

Health systems face various challenges when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. And in some places, the lack of availability of affordable housing is preventing workers from taking jobs.

To provide housing stability, health systems nationwide are providing apartments to employees. 

Most recently, Aurora, Colo.-based UCHealth and Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, Colo., announced their investment in long-term employee housing. 

This is a nearly $30 million investment in a 42-unit housing development in the Steamboat Springs community.

“The incredible patient care that is delivered at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center cannot happen without our most valuable resource — our staff and providers,” Soniya Fidler, president of YVMC, said in an Oct. 9 news release shared with Becker’s. “Living in Steamboat Springs and northwest Colorado presents housing challenges for many members of our team. The rental and real estate markets over the last few years have made affordable housing options difficult to come by. We know these units will provide housing stability for our employees.”

The complex sits on land about a mile from the YVMC campus. The development has six one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units within two, three-story buildings. The units will be available to full-time staff at YVMC by the end of 2024. 

The hospital will allocate the units based on a weighted lottery, according to the release. Rent amounts will be determined according to the household’s gross income, size of household and type of unit, with subsidies provided to employees who meet certain income criteria.

YVMC is only one example of how hospitals are providing employees with housing. Hilton Head (S.C.) Hospital is offering new employees free housing, at least temporarily.

This is through an agreement by Hilton Head Regional Healthcare to rent nearby loft apartments on a short-term basis, according to a Sept. 27 news release. The organization will offer the units to clinical staff who are new to the area — including travel nurses — at no out-of-pocket cost. 

Joel Taylor, the health system’s CEO, said he hopes the apartments will help attract and retain workers and provide a better work-life balance for employees. 

The hospital is working with the Richardson Group, a Hilton Head-based property management company, to renovate the units.  

This year, Becker’s has reported on other health systems offering employee housing, as well. This includes Burlington-based University of Vermont Health System, which in April celebrated the opening of its first investment in employee housing in South Burlington. The building includes 61 apartments for employees and their families.

“We’re continuing to recruit people who are excited to join our team, but too often they are unable to secure housing, and have to decline our offer of employment,” Rebecca Kapsalis, associate vice president of talent acquisition for the UVM Health Network, said in an April 27 news release. “Being able to offer these units will help more new employees relocate here, and will keep more of our colleagues working with us as well.”

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