Laurel Blatchford Blatchford says thinking bigger and more disruptively, and harnessing technology will solve housing.

AUSTIN, TX—Homelessness and inadequate housing are not only problems of poverty, but major health issues. Across the country, options for affordable housing are fast dwindling while rates of homelessness rise–a crisis exacerbated by a rapidly expanding health-wealth gap.

A panel discussed this theme, “Housing as Medicine: Can We Afford the Rx?” yesterday at South By Southwest held at the JW Marriott. The panel pondered, in an age where a medical diagnosis can be accessed through an app and vital signs monitored through a wristwatch, how can the industry innovate its way out of the affordable housing and homelessness crisis? These business, healthcare, government and community innovators shared how cities are using data-driven approaches and developing public-private citizen partnerships to implement smart policies.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.

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