flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

Bridging the Gap Between Housing and Health Care

billboard - default
Business Management

Bridging the Gap Between Housing and Health Care

By addressing social determinants of human health, such as housing, Sameer Sood's FwdSlash is helping to make affordable shelter a value-based investment

By Layne Deakins, Associate Editor September 27, 2023
Red house and stethoscope
Dr. Sameer Sood sees housing as a social determinant of health and is working to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness. | Image: Africa Studio / Stock.adobe.com
This article first appeared in the September/October 2023 issue of Pro Builder.


FwdSlash founder Sameer Sood works to connect health care and affordable housing
Dr. Sameer Sood
Co-founder, FwdSlash

As a primary care doctor, Sameer Sood’s line of work could easily be perceived as entirely unrelated to housing. But without firstPB+ digital extra icon addressing the social determinants of human health, such as transportation, housing, and education, Sood says his job as a physician is rendered largely useless. His frustration with the lack of a broader, more holistic approach to health care inspired him to co-found FwdSlash, which won in the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) category at the 2023 Housing Innovation Summit’s Pitchfest event for its approach to addressing health and homelessness as intertwined objectives.

Funded by prospective customers and a mixture of grants, FwdSlash is creating a three-way marketplace of health care, community-based organizations, and housing industry stakeholders to make affordable shelter a value-based investment. 

PRO BUILDER: What inspired FwdSlash?

Sameer Sood: My background is in the health-care industry and I am still in practice as a primary care provider. At FwdSlash, we’re working to have things like housing, food, transportation, and job training become part of the health-care spectrum. 

Housing is a huge part of what makes up someone’s health, so those who impact housing, like real estate developers and landlords, are not as indirectly involved in the health-care ecosystem as it may seem. 

For instance, landlords who don’t accept housing vouchers in a vulnerable, low-income community may inadvertently be pushing would-be tenants into temporary emergency housing situations that can negatively impact health. We’re looking for ways to engage those atypical actors to prevent that scenario from happening.


PB: Why has it been difficult for Housing First community-based organizations to contract with Medicaid organizations (MCOs)? 

SS: Medicaid organizations typically only cover clinical appointments for unemployed patients. Aspects of behavioral health and social determinants of health, including housing, aren’t covered because no government subsidy exists for that kind of health coverage.

Instead, those types of services typically come from nonprofits that rely on grants and foundation money to do their brilliant work, but which struggle to survive every day. It can be really difficult for those organizations to show their value to Medicaid or the health-care systems we currently have in place. How do you demonstrate that the housing services you’ve provided have kept someone out of the emergency room 100 times this year, which is saving that health insurance company $20,000 or more?

These types of contracts are hard for physicians to make, nevermind volunteer or very low paid-for nonprofits.

PB: What are some of the organizations you’re working with and what’s your process for securing investments from MCOs?

SS: We work with the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and the Welcome House, in Northern Kentucky, among others, all of which are currently funded by grant money. They have amazing case managers, some of whom have experienced homelessness personally and have the capacity to really change lives, but they’re not being funded enough to provide the level of service we’re advocating. 

We’re finding so much value generation in the braiding together of two massive industries. Monetarily, for sure, but really in terms of impacting lives, reducing health-care costs, and changing the faces of communities that are plagued by homelessness.

As a value proposition to health insurance companies, we’re demonstrating that the high cost of coverage for housing-insecure or homeless individuals on Medicaid can be reduced by about 40% or 50% in the first year and every year thereafter with the help provided by these community organizations. We want to see those cost savings secure up-front payments for services.

PB: Are you moving unhoused Americans into existing housing or working to build new units? 

SS: Part of our work is to first help community nonprofits demonstrate their value for Medicaid contracts that ultimately help at-risk populations secure existing housing. But we also secure master leases in situations where landlords are unwilling to accept housing vouchers. We then provide compelling terms for leases that many landlords are open to.

In communities where there aren’t landlords or there aren’t many opportunities to acquire or develop housing, we do that, too. In Sacramento, [Calif.,] we are working with a community organization who is allowing their land to be developed into affordable housing units. We won the contract to develop a housing solution that generates tenant-based revenue while simultaneously creating cost-of-care savings returns. 

We’re finding so much value generation in the braiding together of two massive industries. Monetarily, for sure, but really in terms of impacting lives, reducing health-care costs, and changing the faces of communities that are plagued by homelessness. That’s really what we're pushing for.


leaderboard2 - default
Written By

Layne Deakins is the associate editor for Pro Builder, PRODUCTS, and Custom Builder. She writes feature articles, contributes HorizonTV videos, manages social media accounts, and produces e-newsletters for all three brands. Layne is a 2021 graduate of Pennsylvania State University.

Related Stories

Sales + Marketing

Q+A With Jenny Laible: The Keys to a Community Lifestyle Program

The National Association of Home Builders' 2024 Lifestyle Director of the Year talks about authenticity, knowing your neighbors, and her chill approach to social media


Q+A With Jenny Kerr Schroen and Chris Eccleston: Grit Leads to Greatness

The co-authors of Grit Leads to Greatness are finding their book's message resonates deeply with students, school administrators, and parents alike

Sponsored A Builder Discusses Product Strategy

A Builder Discusses Product Strategy

Which products make a difference? Andrew Houlihan of Houlihan Building Company dives into what kinds of products matter to builders and their clients, including the Marvin Elevate® and Essential Collections

boombox1 -
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Home builders can maximize efficiencies gained through simplification and standardization by automating both on-site and back-office operations 

Delaware-based Schell Brothers, our 2023 Builder of the Year, brings a refreshing approach to delivering homes and measuring success with an overriding mission of happiness

NAHB Chairman's Message: In a challenging business environment for home builders, and with higher housing costs for families, the National Association of Home Builders is working to help home builders better meet the nation's housing needs

native2 - default
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.