January 30, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Categories: Affordable Housing
Researchers have long studied the links between decent, affordable housing and health outcomes for families and children. While some of the links may seem obvious—such as reduced exposure to allergens and environmental toxins—there are others that are harder to quantify.
A study released by the Center for Housing Policy provides an in depth analysis on exactly how housing can impact family health.
The study reviews and provides concrete examples of 10 scenarios in which housing can directly affect health outcomes, including less recognized outcomes relating to mental and emotional health. For example, access to safe, decent and affordable housing can improve family health by:
- Freeing up family resources for other necessities, such as healthy food and medical care.
- Reducing family stress, thereby reducing stress-related physical and mental illnesses.
- Alleviating crowded living conditions, which can reduce exposure to infectious diseases.
- Enabling older adults and others with mobility limitations to avoid assisted living facilities and remain in their homes.
- Allowing victims of domestic violence to escape abusive households.
Click here to read more about all 10 scenarios in depth.
Worldwide, researchers continue to find strong connections between safe and decent housing and improved health. For example, Lisa Harker, a British poverty expert, found that poor housing conditions can increase a child’s risk of severe health problems by up to 25%. Another study conducted by Emory University found that Malawi children under the age of 5 living in homes build by Habitat for Humanity had 44% fewer cases of malaria, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal diseases.
Click here to read more about the worldwide connections between health and housing on the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog.
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