Capacity Building for Health and Housing Equity


I started Gilvar Consulting Services to partner with organizations providing health care, housing, and homeless services and help expand their capacity to meet the needs of patients, residents, clients, and the broader community.  I especially wanted GCS to support community partnership development and efforts to bring to scale cross-agency collaborations integrating physical and behavioral health care as well as housing and shelter services.  As the director of large Health Care for the Homeless programs in both Texas and Washington, I developed and managed numerous successful collaborative initiatives with these same goals. I’m now using my strategic planning, advocacy, policy development, and operations management experience in a variety of new ways.

I want to strengthen leaders coming together from different sectors with a realization that they need to work together to transform systems in service of greater health and housing equity.  Increasingly, Continuum of Care planning entities, Managed Care Organizations, hospitals, Community Health Centers, community mental health agencies, substance use disorder treatment providers, housing authorities, Public Health Departments, Medicaid agencies, and city and county governments are finding ways to break down silos, reduce fragmentation, and more systematically address homelessness and racial disparities in health and housing outcomes.  Some examples of how I can help support such efforts include:

  • Executive coaching
  • Leadership development, mentoring, and team building
  • Strategic planning, including facilitation, research, analysis, and workplan preparation
  • Facilitating health and housing collaborations
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work
  • Training and technical assistance, including:
    • Board of Directors development
    • Federal grant compliance, including Operational Site Visit preparation
    • Community Needs Assessments involving patients and front-line service providers
    • Public-entity Community Health Center special issues
    • Mobile medical, dental, and behavioral health services
    • Medicaid 1115 waivers
    • Communicable disease prevention
    • Disaster planning
    • Medical respite care program development, financing, and management
    • Provision of clinical services in shelters, supportive housing buildings, and other non-traditional settings
    • Outreach-based health services for unsheltered individuals and families
    • Grant proposal development and writing
    • Integrating services across disciplines, agencies, and sectors, including:
      • Medical care
      • Oral health care
      • Mental health care
      • Harm reduction and other Substance Use Disorder services
      • Vision care
      • Social work
      • Outreach and case management
      • Communicable disease prevention
      • Benefits enrollment

Other Articles

City of Dallas Equity Assessment of Affordable Housing Policies

Along with colleagues Christine Campbell and Michele Williams, John conducted a racial equity assessment of the City of Dallas’s affordable housing policies.  The assessment relied on extensive community input and culminated in a presentation of 11 recommendations for change to the Dallas City Council.  The findings and recommendations are summarized in this final report.  Recommendations start on page 8, following the executive summary.

Accelerating Organizational Anti-Racism Work with Adaptive Leadership and Mindful Communication Practices

Transformational change at an organizational or systems level requires both deep listening and the willingness of leaders possessing decision-making authority to collaborate with those most directly impacted by the problems necessitating change. Few leaders I know would dispute this premise in the abstract, but many might struggle to explain in concrete terms how they walk the walk as well as they talk the talk. Moving organizations and communities from words to action around redressing institutionalized racism requires leaders not only to put listening and collaboration skills to the test, but to leap beyond the comfort zone of routine approaches to problem solving. Adaptive leadership and mindful communication practices can provide an excellent platform from which to dive into the deep water of acknowledging racism and other structural forms of oppression as powerful drivers of inequities in the areas of health, housing, and economic advancement.

Cross-silo Partnerships Boldly Tackling Inequities in the Midst of the Pandemic

New COVID-19 hospitalization data shine a stark light on the connection between homelessness and poor health.  The Minnesota Department of Health found that people residing in homeless shelters who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were 4 times more likely to be hospitalized and 3 times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) than the overall population of Minnesota residents with a COVID+ diagnosis.  The hospitalization and ICU rates for people living unsheltered were even worse:  almost 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 7 times more likely to receive treatment in an ICU.