How to Improve Health through Housing

How to Improve Health through Housing
Nabihah Maqbool, Janet Viveiros, Mindy Ault
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The evidence base is large and growing: health is affected by housing. In a 2015 literature review, researchers at the Center for Housing Policy summarize a wide body of research on the ways in which affordable housing can positively affect physical and mental health for people of all ages.

The research summarized in this report shows that housing can improve health outcomes in the following ways:

  1. Affordable housing frees up family resources for nutritious food and health care.
  2. Affordable housing reduces stress and related adverse health outcomes.
  3. When affordable and sustainable, homeownership can support mental health.
  4. Well-constructed and maintained affordable housing can reduce exposure to health detriments in substandard housing.
  5. Stable, affordable housing may streamline health care delivery for individuals with chronic illnesses.
  6. Housing in low-poverty, socially supportive areas can reduce stress, increase access to amenities, and improve health.
  7. Affordable housing can reduce stressors and infectious disease by preventing crowding.
  8. Affordable housing allows victims of domestic violence to escape abusive homes.
  9. Sustainable housing strategies, such as green building and location efficiency, can reduce exposure to pollution and improve air quality.
  10. Pairing housing with supportive services enables older adults and people with disabilities to avoid moving to assisted living facilities or nursing homes.