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Earlier this summer , the Urban Institute and the MacArthur Foundation hosted “How Housing Matters for Healthy Child Development,” a roundtable that brought together researchers and practitioners from the fields of housing, community development, and from health to discuss the connections between housing and healthy outcomes for children.
The two-day event revealed that those in the health field have long recognized the impact of home and environment on health outcomes. This insight, however, is relatively new to those in the housing field. In my remarks, I proposed that for many housing researchers, interest in the link between health and housing emerged following the results of the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) demonstration, a program that used vouchers to help poor families living in public housing in high-poverty neighborhoods move to lower-poverty neighborhoods.
A key finding of MTO was of significant impacts on health — in particular, mental health. Further exploration suggested that MTO’s effects on children’s health outcomes may have varied according to the baseline health vulnerability of their families, as explored in the Office of Policy Development and Research’s (PD&R’s).
This week, (August 1, 2014), Corporation for Supportive Housing released a white paper entitled “Housing is the Best Medicine: Supportive Housing and the Social Determinants of Health.”
Across the nation, there’s increasing attention being paid to the link between stable housing and improved health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Although the United States spends more on health care spending than most industrialized nations, we continue to lag behind in both quality and health outcomes. We are seeing increasing evidence that for particularly vulnerable populations, lack of housing and housing instability more than determines health - it dictates health. Without affordable housing integrated with services, people cannot achieve improved health outcomes at great expense to the health care system. This paper examines housing as a social determinant of health, and the role affordable housing with supportive services plays as a health intervention for improving quality and health outcomes for the most vulnerable and costly patients. Furthermore, it puts forward key strategies for better integrating health and housing models that can be brought to scale.
Scholars, government agencies, nonprofits and think tanks have conducted dozens of research projects on supportive housing. The following areas have generated particular interest among researchers. The Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY) has organized much of this key research.
See SHNNY research and reports here and click on any of the links on this site page to learn what the experts say about supportive housing.
DESC: The Downtown Emergency Service Center (located in Seattle, WA) works to end the homelessness of vulnerable people, particularly those living with serious mental or addictive illnesses. Please click on the presentation to view all the pages.
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