April 6, 2022

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio applauded the DeWine Administration Wednesday for maintaining and expanding a pilot program that demonstrates how safe, decent housing can promote healthy birth outcomes.

The Administration awarded a $2.25 million grant to COHHIO to administer the Healthy Beginnings at Home program, which provides rental assistance and housing stability services to pregnant women at high risk of infant mortality.

“COHHIO is very pleased to help implement this critically important initiative,” COHHIO Executive Director Bill Faith said. “This grant will show that having a safe, stable home gives babies a healthier start in life, improves family stability, and could even save lives.”

The Healthy Beginnings at Home pilot program launched in 2017 with funding from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and was implemented by CelebrateOne, a Columbus-based infant mortality prevention collaborative. With additional support from partnerships with CareSource, Home for Families, and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, HBAH was introduced as a random control study that showed promising findings for women who received assistance.

The study placed 50 expecting mothers in a group receiving housing intervention, and 50 into a group receiving usual care. Forty of the 51 babies in the group that received intervention were born full-term at healthy weights compared to just 24 of 44 babies in the usual care group. Four fetal deaths were incurred by the usual care group, while none were reported in the housing intervention group.

Gov. Mike DeWine and the Oho General Assembly included $2.25 million in the state budget to continue the program. COHHIO will help coordinate multi-agency efforts to expand Healthy Beginnings at Home in Franklin and Summit counties.