Screening for housing needs — or preventing them?
The Milbank Quarterly
It is no longer novel to point out that housing has substantial impacts on health. Housing quality influences exposure to health harms like lead, mold, and asbestos. Where housing is located within a community shapes our social networks, access to food and health and social services, and risk for violence, all of which are known to impact health. Housing costs that increase disproportionately to wages means that more people are facing housing insecurity and homelessness than in recent decades. The current housing crisis is leading to infectious and non-infectious adverse health outcomes at a population-level, which means greater strain on emergency departments and crisis response services.
As a result of the legacy of racist zoning and redlining policies, Black, brown, indigenous, and other people of color continue to bear the brunt of the housing crisis. Racial and ethnic minorities experience housing instability at significantly higher rates than their White, non-Hispanic counterparts, and are overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness.
Meehan A, Sharfstein J. Screening for housing needs — or preventing them?. The Milbank Quarterly. 2023. Available online.