Healthy Communities Data and Indicators Project by Office of Health Equity


This document is only 3 pages, but it provides an important definition on affordable housing, enhancing the importance of quality and highlighting how substandard housing can affect the health and even cause lethal risks on residents.

“Affordable, quality housing is central to health, conferring protection from the environment and supporting family life. Substandard housing is associated with increased risks of injury and respiratory ailments. Homes can be a source of exposure to radon, lead, asbestos or other hazardous agents. In children, lead exposure increases the risk of neurological impairment and developmental delays. Chronic homelessness is associated with higher rates of injuries, cancer, cardiovascular disease, substance addictions, mental disorders and death. Children and adolescents with transient housing have impaired academic performance. Housing costs—typically the largest, single expense in a family’s budget—also impact decisions that affect health. As housing consumes larger proportions of household income, families have less income for nutrition, health care, transportation, education, etc. Severe cost burdens may induce poverty—which is associated with developmental and behavioral problems in children and accelerated cognitive and physical decline in adults. Low-income families and minority communities are disproportionately affected by the lack of affordable, quality housing.


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