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GCHP Breaks Ground on Second Health plus Housing Pilot

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba joined real estate developer Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (GCHP), co-developer Pearl Street Community Development Corporation (CDC) and UnitedHealthcare at a groundbreaking ceremony today for The Pearl, a $28 million affordable housing and healthcare community located on the site of a former Holiday Inn and Jackson Southwest Hotel on Hwy 80 in Jackson.

The original Holiday Inn structure on the 14-acre site was constructed in the early 1960s and will now be substantially renovated into 72,000 square feet of affordable housing with an onsite healthcare clinic.

“We deeply appreciate Gulf Coast Housing Partnership and the Pearl Street Community Development Corporation for their commitment to this important project,” said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba. “This satisfies two vital needs for the City of Jackson at the same time. First, it will provide needed medical care for our residents. Second, it will redevelop and renovate a highly visible section of our City that has suffered from years of neglect and blight. These are the kind of projects and partnerships we seek to elevate in our pursuit of an economy based on the dignity of all residents.”

The Pearl will have 76 one- and two-bedroom apartments reserved for seniors aged 55 or older. The community is designed with elements that facilitate aging in place, including a pool, fitness center, and community room. The Pearl will be the first Fitwel-certified building in Mississippi. Fitwel is a building rating system created by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to guide building design. At the Pearl this includes the prominent placement of walkways and stairwells to encourage movement and improve the health of building occupants.

Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center (JHCHC) will operate the onsite Federally Qualified Health Center and employ community healthcare workers that will serve both residents of The Pearl and the surrounding community. JHCHC is the largest provider of primary healthcare services to low-income, under-insured and uninsured individuals in Mississippi.

“For over 50 years, Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health has been a pillar in the community providing quality comprehensive healthcare services,” said Dr. Jasmin O. Chapman, DDS and Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Chief Executive Officer. “This project will have a profound and direct impact in addressing and reducing the health disparities that so many of our patients face, such as transportation, access to care, food insecurities, and access to mental and behavioral services. We are elated to be a part of this wonderful collaboration and to witness this project coming to fruition.”

The Pastor of Pearl Street African American Methodist Church and Executive Director of Pearl Street CDC., Pastor Samuel H. Boyd said that the desire to create senior housing in Southwest Jackson first came to him as a vision in 2007. Seven years later, in 2014, the property on Hwy 80 was listed for sale and he saw this as an answer to his prayers.

“I thank God for the faithful members of Pearl Street Church, Pearl Street CDC and community leaders who helped us purchase this property,” said Pastor Boyd. “I am also thankful for our developer, GCHP, and our partners and investors for believing in the vision to help make it come to fruition today.”
The Pearl is one of two pilot projects for developer GCHP’s Health + Housing concept. Health + Housing recognizes the significant role quality affordable housing and access to culturally competent health care has on an individual’s health outcomes. The healthcare delivery model is inspired by the learnings of Mississippi physician and healthcare visionary, Dr. Aaron Shirley.

Health + Housing utilizes investments provided by healthcare payors, including Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), to help fund projects like The Pearl. In Jackson, UnitedHealthcare is supporting The Pearl with an investment of $3 million as part of its commitment to affordable housing and health care in Mississippi.

“It is our goal to ensure our members have the housing, healthcare, and employment necessary to live healthier lives and thrive in their communities,” said J. Michael Parnell, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi. “This development is a proven way to provide access to many things that are essential to them, and it is driven by formative research, consumer behaviors, and patient needs.”

GCHP’s Health + Housing concept received national recognition in August 2020 when GCHP was selected as one of six winners out of 900 applicants in the national Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge sponsored by Wells Fargo and Enterprise Community Partners.

“GCHP’s mission to create affordable housing and stronger communities throughout the Gulf Coast is only possible through our partnerships,” said Kathy Laborde, GCHP President & CEO. “Together we will be able to transform this property and will improve the health outcomes for the residents of The Pearl and the surrounding community. “

Additional funding support for The Pearl is being provided by the City of Jackson, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Federal Home Bank of Dallas, Hinds County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi Home Corporation, Mississippi Regional Housing Authority VI., Regions Bank and Trustmark Bank.

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