Just days before his documentary is planned for release on Apple TV+, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is back in Florida with Simply Healthcare. At the Holden Heights Community Center in Orlando today, Johnson hosted a discussion on how important housing is to good health.
“On and off the court, I’ve seen how team effort can yield powerful results,” Johnson said. “It will take all of us working together to fight against housing instability and homelessness, especially for communities of color that are disproportionally affected by housing insecurity. Everyone deserves to live in a secure environment that will promote better health outcomes.”
Johnson serves as an ambassador of Simply Healthcare, a Florida managed health care plan that serves Medicare Advantage and Medicaid members in the state. Johnson can be seen often with the Simply team, promoting health and wellness in communities across the Sunshine State. Last November, he was in the state Capitol talking about mental health with teens. Today in Orlando, the focus was on achieving health equity through housing.
“The data is clear, those who face homelessness or housing instability often experience greater health challenges,” said Holly Prince, President of Simply. “Simply is committed to bringing state leaders and communities together to ensure Floridians have access to safe and affordable housing so they can live healthier, happier lives.”
Studies have identified a direct correlation between housing instability and increased medical and behavioral health problems. Communities of color are among those who suffer the most and disproportionately experience housing instability, homelessness and poorer health outcomes. Chris Durrance, Housing Program Manager at Simply, provided a presentation on Simply’s efforts to provide safe housing and achieve better health outcomes.
“Simply is doing their part,” Johnson said. “We’re all working to do our part. We’ve got to bring these organizations together to exchange ideas and information. We need to make sure these great people who deserve safe homes can get a roof over their heads.”
Housing circumstances contribute to health disparities, and they can have lasting impacts on the health and well-being of Floridians. According to a report published by the National Institutes of Health, there are four main factors when it comes to housing that may influence health: cost, conditions, consistency or stability, and the context of the neighborhood.
The event featured community partners Leeanne Sacino, Executive Director of Florida Coalition to End Homelessness and Brian Postlewait, COO of Orlando Continuum of Care.
“No one should have to live on the streets,” said Sacino. “Florida Coalition to End Homelessness is committed to helping those experiencing homelessness and working with other like-minded community partners to make significant progress on this issue.”
Postlewait added, “Today’s event was an encouraging depiction of how community leaders are teaming up to improve health equity by increasing access to housing.”