INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI recently received a five-year $2.4 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to launch a housing equity initiative to reduce the infant mortality rate in Indianapolis.

The initiative will address housing instability, a key social determinant of poor infant health. Housing instability, a lot of the time, has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The housing equity initiative will provide support in finding housing and navigating the legal system to pregnant and parenting women in Marion County who are currently experiencing housing instability or poor housing quality.

The Housing Equity for Infant Health Initiative will address housing, a key social determinant of poor infant health. Housing instability has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The initiative will provide support in finding housing and navigating the legal system to pregnant and parenting women in Marion County experiencing housing instability or poor housing quality. Using evidence-based research, the initiative will address city, state and federal policy and systemic barriers that keep women and parents from having quality and stable housing.

“Access to safe, secure, quality housing is a right we believe in for all moms and babies, as we know that this is a foundation that promotes maternal and infant health and well-being,” said Jack Turman Jr., director of the Housing Equity for Infant Health Initiative and the Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Initiative, and professor in the Fairbanks School of Public Health.

“We are honored to have been selected to carry out this important work of advancing infant health equity across Indianapolis.

Indiana has the 10th highest infant mortality rate in the nation, according to America’s Health Rankings. The initiative will also bring Healthy Beginnings at Home, an evidence-based intervention for pregnant women experiencing housing instability, to Marion County. This intervention will provide housing navigation services, 24 months of tapering rental assistance, and housing case management to pregnant women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The initiative plans to serve at least 100 families over the grant period. CareSource has also pledged $250,000 to help with the initiative. The Housing Equity for Infant Health Initiative will also focus on legal system interventions to support stable, quality housing for pregnant Hoosiers.