Mercy Housing and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Collaborate to Help Seniors with Low Incomes Suffering from Social Isolation


For Immediate Release:  August 26, 2020

Contact: Kate Peterson | 303.830.3443 |

Two-Year Study Seeks to Prevent and Mitigate Social Isolation

DENVER — Mercy Housing, the nation’s leading affordable housing nonprofit, launched a two-year collaboration with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to study the prevalence and potential drivers of social isolation among senior residents at their affordable housing communities.

Through this housing and health partnership, Mercy Housing seeks to gain a better understanding of how to prevent and mitigate social isolation among seniors while learning from leading healthcare experts and researchers to grow their delivery of services so that the organization can better serve senior residents.

“Housing and health are so closely linked that partnerships are essential. This is an exciting opportunity to work with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to better understand social isolation among older adults living in Mercy Housing. A multidisciplinary approach to housing is a powerful way to discover innovative solutions.”— Laura Andes, Mercy Housing’s Senior Vice President of National Resident Services

An internal analysis showed that approximately 25% of Mercy Housing seniors were socially isolated based on the Lubben Social Network Scale, with men more likely to feel socially isolated than women (mirroring national figures).

Led by Dr. Thomas Cudjoe and Dr. Cynthia Boyd, both gerontologists at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and in collaboration with Mercy Housing National Resident Services, this collaboration will dig deeper to explore the following about Mercy Housing senior communities:

  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social isolation, health, well-being, and self-reported healthcare utilization
  • Sociodemographic correlates (age, race, gender, education, income, geography) of social isolation
  • Mental and physical health correlates of social isolation

This is an innovative and unique opportunity to understand in real-time the impact of coronavirus on senior residents and how to mitigate that impact. Mercy Housing will share with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine identified resident assessments, including resident demographics, self-reported health status, access and utilization, and Lubben Social Network Scale scores.

Mercy Housing’s commitment to data collection and analysis paired with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s expertise, makes this collaboration uniquely positioned to help answer essential questions concerning social isolation in a diverse population of seniors with low incomes.

About Mercy Housing, Inc. (MHI)

Mercy Housing, Inc. (MHI) is a leading national affordable housing nonprofit headquartered in Denver. Established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1981, and in operation in 41 states, MHI has more than 39 years’ experience developing, preserving, managing, and financing affordable housing. MHI supplements much of its housing with Resident Services, programs that help residents build stable lives. MHI’s subsidiaries further the organization’s mission: Mercy Housing Management Group (MHMG) offers professional property management and Mercy Community Capital (MCC) finances nonprofit organizations.

MHI serves tens of thousands of people with low incomes, including families, seniors, veterans, people who have experienced homelessness, and people with disabilities. Its mission is to build a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy, and all people can live to their full potential. To learn more about MHI and the services it provides, visit