Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The latest research on the connection between affordable housing and health

by Janet Viveiros, National Housing Conference

Affordable housing leads to better health outcomes than unaffordable, unstable and poor quality housing. The Center for Housing Policy’s new report, The Impacts of Affordable Housing on Health, is an update to a 2011 report, by the same name, that reviews research on the various ways that housing influences health. The latest edition of the report includes the most recent research on the connection between housing and health outcomes for individuals of all ages.

New research on the impact of housing costs, quality and stability on health reinforces the original 10 hypotheses in the 2011 report which trace the pathways through which affordable and stable housing supports positive physical and mental health outcomes. Much of the new research in the report focuses on the harmful effects of stress, caused by unaffordable housing or foreclosure proceedings, on mental health. Current research also confirms that a lack of affordable housing options can result in victims of domestic abuse returning to their abuser or struggling with housing instability. Several recent reports also expand our understanding of how unaffordable housing reduces spending on food, which is harmful to the health of children and adults.

One area of continuing uncertainty in the research is the differing impacts of unaffordable homeownership and unaffordable renting. While recent research continues to show that homeownership appears to have greater health benefits than renting in the abstract, it is not clear whether owning is more beneficial to health than renting when ownership is not financially sustainable.  

This updated report serves as a resource that explains how investment in quality affordable housing can lead to better health outcomes for children and adults.

To read the full report, click here.    

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