Affordable & Safe Housing includes both owner-occupied and rental housing located near places of interest, parks, jobs, and public transportation and is accessible to residents at various income levels. This includes housing that is structurally sound and safe from environmental and indoor pollution.
Affordable & Safe Housing & Latino Health
Access to affordable and safe housing is a priority for maintaining good health. Not only does access to housing protect families from the natural elements, it also helps promote feelings of security that can reduce stress. Affordable housing that is also located near safe parks, full-service grocery stores, and living-wage employment helps to build community and encourages healthy eating and exercise.
Researchers and practitioners have long understood there is a connection between housing and health. It is broadly acknowledged, for example, that efforts to minimize children’s exposure to lead paint in the home have greatly reduced the incidence of lead poisoning and associated physical and cognitive health problems. Many of the pathways through which housing may affect health are less well-recognized, however. Examples include the mental health benefits associated with residential stability and the improved ability to live independently afforded by accessible and service-enriched housing.
Physical changes to the nation’s housing stock are a continuous process responding to consumer demand, technological innovation, and periodic policy interventions. Since World War II, most changes to the home environment in the United States have aimed to improve durability, energy conservation, general comfort, and security, as well as aesthetics. However, few have been intended to improve health directly. Although some housing changes produce health improvements, there is insufficient evidence linking specific physical housing changes to specific health outcomes, with a few important exceptions, such as lead poisoning and residential lead paint exposures and multiple interventions and asthma.
Communities have a variety of policies and laws accessible for creating and maintaining healthy homes, including voluntary efforts, regulatory authority, and formal relationships between homes and health professionals. Decisions made at the local, state, and federal levels also can help create homes that are affordable and that improve people’s health.