Washington selected to participate in new HUD, HHS Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator program

Only eight states and D.C. were selected for the new program

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington state was recently selected for technical assistance resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator (Accelerator) program. According to a press release from HHS, the Accelerator will help unlock resources to reduce homelessness by addressing health-related social needs, such as housing-related services, for Medicaid-eligible people with disabilities and older adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The state departments of Commerce and Social and Health Services and the Health Care Authority applied for the funding, which provides housing-related supports and services that can be covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), including low-income, vulnerable, and disabled populations. Washington’s Apple Health and Homes initiative is key in that effort.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to further the efforts to bring health and housing together,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “Having the national technical assistance, peer-to-peer opportunities with other states and federal policy guidance will ensure our success as Commerce works with other state agencies to create more housing and support everyone living in Washington.”

Seven other states and the District of Columbia were selected for the initiative.

“Washington has been one of the early leaders in establishing the role of supportive housing services addressing the social determinants of health for our state’s most vulnerable,” said Sue Birch, director at the Washington State Health Care Authority. “We are thrilled to participate in the Housing Services Partnership Accelerator to continue this great work and move our Medicaid Transformation to the next phase. We believe in strong partnerships between health care and housing and are excited to join other states and federal partners to continue to create innovative strategies to address homelessness and health disparities in our country.”

The team has already started meeting with national technical assistance coaches to complete a needs assessment, said Melodie Pazolt, managing director of the Office of Apple Health and Homes, citing a 2023 study on homelessness.

“Non-elderly people who have experienced homelessness face 3.5 times the mortality risk of people who are housed,” Pazolt said. “Health and housing are intertwined and the Apple Health and Homes Initiative is an intervention to address these issues. The Accelerator program is a bonus to help us be even more successful in navigating this new frontier.”

As part of the Accelerator application, states were asked to form teams with partners from their health, housing, and aging and disability sectors, and outline the status of their implementation of Medicaid-covered housing-related services and supports, their goals under the Accelerator, and areas where technical assistance was needed. Washington has used multiple resources and established a strong foundation to assist individuals with complex challenges obtain and maintain housing. The next phase of the state’s efforts is improving collaboration and coordination between organizations and systems that provide services and resources that help people find – and keep – stable housing in the community by marrying the Medicaid benefit with the capital and rent assistance.

Washington has long pursued federal and state funded initiatives to support low-income, vulnerable, and disabled populations.

“As we’re working to increase housing units, we want to ensure we’re creating partnerships around the services that follow people across the housing continuum, regardless of funding source and requirements,” said Pazolt.


Contact:               Amelia Lamb, Commerce Communications | m: (360) 995-3386

About Commerce
Commerce works with local governments, businesses, community-based organizations and tribes to strengthen communities. The department’s diverse portfolio of more than 100 programs and effective public and private partnerships promote sustainable community and economic development to help all Washingtonians thrive. For more information, visit http://www.commerce.wa.gov. For information on locating or expanding a business in Washington, visit choosewashingtonstate.com

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About Washington State Health Care Authority
The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) is committed to whole-person care, integrating physical health and behavioral health services for better results and healthier residents. HCA purchases health care for more than 2.5 million Washington residents through Apple Health (Medicaid), the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program, the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program, and the COFA Islander Health Care Program. As the largest health care purchaser in the state, we lead the effort to transform health care, helping ensure Washington residents have access to better health and better care at a lower cost.

Katie Pope, HCA Deputy Chief Communications Officer | Media Relations

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