Affordable and safe housing is important to the well-being and health of families. Without adequate housing, families have trouble managing their daily lives. When this happens, their health suffers.
Research has shown that affordable housing may help individuals living with chronic diseases to better maintain their treatment regimens and seek medical care more frequently.1 However, for those who are poor, having both stable housing and medical care is a challenge for many reasons:
- For most Americans, housing is their greatest monthly expense.
- For people with lower incomes, a larger percentage of income must be used to make their rent or mortgage payments.
- Low-income families may not have enough money to cover other vital needs, such as food, utilities, or health-related expenses if housing costs are too high.2
- For patients who are homeless, properly storing medication, maintaining a healthy diet and consistently going to the doctor are difficult to do when they are spending a good deal of time trying to find a place to sleep every night.3,4
When families cannot afford adequate housing, they may be forced to live in homes that are too small for their needs or to live with family or friends in a crowded situation. This makes it difficult for them to maintain healthy relationships and to handle personal stress. High levels of stress can lead to or exacerbate a number of health issues, including higher blood pressure.5
Stable housing provides a foundation for individuals with chronic illness, such as cardiovascular disease, to improve their health outcomes. Some of the benefits include:
- They are able to receive consistent delivery of health care and support services.
- They can focus on meeting their health needs better than those who do not have stable housing.
- Healthcare providers can follow up with patients more easily when they know where patients live and how to contact them.
Local Housing Resources
Baltimore Housing Authority
Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development
HUD in Maryland
Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods
Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute
Baltimore Development Corporation
1Aidala AA, Messeri P, Abramson D, Lee G. 2001. Housing and Health Care Among Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. Update Report #37. New York, NY: Colombia University.
2Lipman, Barbara J. 2005. Something's Gotta Give: Working Families and the Cost of Housing. Washington DC: Center for Housing Policy.
3Hwang SW, Bugeja AL. 2000. Barriers to appropriate diabetes management among homeless people in Toronto. Canadian Medical Association Journal 163(2): 161-165.
4Brickner PW, Scanlan BC, Conanan B et al. 1986. Homeless persons and health care. Annals of Internal Medicine 104: 405-409.
5Gove WR, Hughes M, Galle OR. 1979. Overcrowding in the home: An empirical investigation of its possible pathological consequences. American Sociological Review 44(1): 59-80.