The San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition (SDRCC) is one of 13 awardees of the BUILD Health Challenge (BUILD) to implement programs that advance health equity in their communities. Together, this year’s cohort of 13 communities from across the country will receive a total of $8.5 million in funding and resources for the three year period.

BUILD’s goal is to support communities in their work to advance health equity through community centered and cross-sector approaches to address the root causes of health disparities. Programs that are part of the BUILD Health Challenge aim to target systemic and social inequities that are at the heart of the health disparities seen in refugee and immigrant communities. 

The San Diego Refugee Communities Health through Housing Project is focused on housing justice for refugee and immigrant communities in El Cajon. Over the course of the program, SDRCC will be working with its coalition members in El Cajon – Majdal Arab Community Center of San Diego and License to Freedom –  as well as with San Diego Wellness Collaborative, Health Net of California, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and the UC San Diego Center for Community Health’s Refugee Health Unit. 

The project highlights the link between housing stability and health. Some of the project goals are as follows: 

  • Working with community partners to understand the needs and priorities of refugee communities as they relate to housing stability and quality of housing
  • Building on existing relationships within communities to engage residents and leaders in decision making and advocacy efforts
  • Working towards systems level change, including producing policy solutions, in collaboration with community and multi-sector partners, 

The project goals include highlighting the strong link between health and housing stability and quality of housing. Throughout SDRCC’s work within refugee and immigrant communities, this has been a common theme across the diverse populations served. This knowledge and the data collected by SDRCC front line staff have provided the opportunity to design this project that will work towards addressing these health inequities and provide a platform to advocate for better housing and health outcomes for the refugee communities we serve. 


Written By

Reem Zubaidi

Program Manager, UCSD Refugee Health Unit