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UnitedHealth likewise saw an opportunity with fairly low risk and an opportunity for decent returns. It launched a program in December 2011 with three affordable housing projects in New Mexico, and has since invested $150 million in a dozen states.
The funds come out of the corporate coffers, but are meant to complement the work of the company’s charitable foundation, said Tom McGlinch, UnitedHealth Group vice president of investment management.
The insurer seeks housing projects in which 20 to 25 percent of the units offer supportive services, including those aimed at giving stable housing to homeless people and onsite care for those with mental and physical disabilities.
“UnitedHealth is a dream partner because they share the same civic agenda we do,” said the Housing Fund’s Hanson, who initially pitched a $10 million investment to the insurer. “They came to the project with those priorities and commitments, not because we sold them on it.”
McGlinch said that UnitedHealth has the “room to do more” projects.
“We’re looking to find more opportunities to be involved in these types of projects in places where UnitedHealth has a significant number of employees and is doing business,” McGlinch said.
The Greater Minnesota Housing Fund was formed in 1996 by the McKnight and Blandin foundations to address an urgent need for decent affordable housing in outstate Minnesota.
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335