A Partnership That Houses & Heals

Mercy Park and Mercy Care have partnered to provide Chamblee, Georgia’s low-income residents with affordable housing and healthcare opportunities. Both are members of the Sisters of Mercy — Mercy Park is an affordable housing community for low-income seniors and is adjacent to the Mercy Care clinic, a federally qualified health facility that is part of the St. Joseph’s Health System and has 12 locations.

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Mercy Care opened in April of 2017 while Mercy Park accepted their first tenants this spring; most of which are veterans and seniors with disabilities. A community-health-needs assessment identified Chamblee, a suburb of Atlanta, as requiring these services as there are significant numbers of low-income seniors and children in need of healthcare in the area. A capital campaign was launched and successfully raised $16 million and secured grants to use toward the Mercy Care clinic. Nominal fees are charged to patients. Primary care, behavioral healthcare, dental, vision and diagnostic services are offered by the clinic. When seniors first move into Mercy Park, Resident Services coordinators conduct a health survey to establish anticipated healthcare needs. Efforts are underway to fully understand how many tenants use the clinic compared with patients from the surrounding of the community. Mercy Park and Mercy Care are working toward an agreement that would permit the two of them to share patient information, thus improving services for the people in need of combined healthcare-housing.

Co-locating Mercy Park and Mercy Care was no accident, it was a well-planned and concise effort — Mercy Housing understands the benefits of this concept and is interested in creating a replicable model for more affordable housing and healthcare partnerships. Mercy Park and Mercy Care’s success stems from shared goals and an understanding of each other’s missions. Many Mercy Park residents have issues beyond physical illness, including depression and other debilitating mental illnesses, which can contribute to or worsen their overall health. Mercy Care offers health and wellness classes, while Mercy Park provides health navigation services, chronic disease prevention education, nutritional cooking, and fall prevention classes. Prevention is a significant motivator for co-locating affordable housing and healthcare. This partnership supports low-income individuals’ access to stable, affordable homes that promote the foundation for healthy lifestyles that allow residents the opportunity to pursue a life-affirming future.