As an advocacy organization, we are focused on highlighting the innovative and important work of healthcare organizations, but also identifying key challenges that they face in trying to address health and social needs across the country. Housing insecurity and instability is one of the most well-documented social determinants of health, with health systems and policy makers seeking to better understand where to intervene effectively.

We hope that this page will serve as a resource of existing studies and literature on the intersection of health and housing as well as current activities Aligning for Health and its members are doing to address housing insecurity through policy discussions and practical interventions.

Social Determinants Fall Forum | Health and Housing

Aligning for Health is pleased to convene and moderate a cross-sector conversation on health and housing, led by several of our key partners with expertise in this area on September 28, 2020.

Discussion leaders will share their experience in working on health and housing interventions through examples and case studies. The accompanying discussion will examine the nexus of health and housing interventions and policy, touching on issues such as the impact of housing on health; efforts to promote or provide healthy housing; access to affordable housing, healthcare investments in housing, and supportive housing services; and opportunities and considerations for policymakers.

The slides from this webinar are available here

Health and Housing Literature and Resources

Health Affairs, “Housing and Health: An Overview Of the Literature”

  • Issue brief developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which outlines the literature around the impact of housing on health via four pathways: stability, quality and safety, affordability, and the neighborhood. The brief then provides high-level direction for future research and policy agendas.

Brookings Institution, “Housing as a Hub for Health, Community Services, and Upward Mobility”

  • Report which explores the way in which housing can affect the lives and success of individuals and how the effect varies for different segments of the population. The report also outlines how policy and a number of other issues obstruct the capacity of housing to serve its vital purpose.

DC Department of Housing and Community Development, “Housing Equity Report: Creating Goals for Areas of Our City”

  • Report outlining goals for the equitable distribution of affordable housing in Washington, DC and will comprise the Housing Framework for Equity and Growth. The report highlights the impact safe and stable housing has on supporting physical, financial, and emotional health, and includes comments from survey participants around how affordability in housing impacts resident health.

American Public Health Association, “National Healthy Housing Standard”

  • Issue brief developed in collaboration with the National Center for Health Housing, which details a health-focused property maintenance policy that targets the nation’s 100 million existing homes and serves as a blueprint and tool for stakeholders who recognize the impact housing has on community health.

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., “Health in Housing: Exploring the Intersection between Housing and Health Care”

  • Study completed in partnership with the Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE), which explores the link between affordable housing and health care through the lens of several national health reform metrics. The study also provides recommendations and future directions for building policy reform around integrating health and housing services.

National Center for Health Housing, “State of Healthy Housing”

  • Report used to alert policymakers and advocates about the housing conditions within communities, with the goal being to increase awareness of the impact of housing on health hazards and advocate for additional investment in affordable, healthy housing.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “How Does Housing Affect Health?”

  • Issue brief that focuses on three important and interrelated aspects of housing and their links to health: the physical conditions within the home, conditions in the neighborhoods surrounding the home, and housing affordability. The brief also highlights strategies for improving health through public and private housing policies.

American Journal of Public Health, “Housing and Health: Time Again for Public Health Action” 

  • Article that describes evidence linking housing conditions to health, places public health’s role in addressing housing issues in an historical context, provides examples of contemporary local public health activities in the housing arena, and offers suggestions for public health action.

Healthy People 2020, “Quality of Housing”

  • Summary of literature on quality of housing as a social determinant of health. Healthy People 2020 listed the Neighborhood and Built Environment as a key place-based domain under the Social Determinants of Health topic area, with quality of housing to be a key issue within this domain.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Housing and Health Partners Can Work Together to Close the Housing Affordability Gap”

  • Report highlighting data around the linkage between housing and health status, current practices around housing interventions and health system housing initiatives that can boost health outcomes, and strategies to create more affordable housing and to broaden access to health care for vulnerable populations.

Centers on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Medicaid Can Partner With Housing Providers and Others to Address Enrollees’ Social Needs”

  • Report outlining the ways in which states can use flexibilities to build partnerships across sectors and enhance efforts to coordinate the delivery of health care with other services to ensure Medicaid beneficiaries’ health-related needs are met. The report also highlights state-specific examples of efforts to coordinate health care/social services and pay for health-related services for Medicaid beneficiaries.

American Hospital Association(July 2020) – American Hospital Association published an issue brief on 5 actions to promote housing access during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unite Us: (August 2020) – Unite Us has analyzed how their networks are responding to the eviction crisis, and how national network services are responding to eviction assistance requests. The data found that referrals for housing and shelter show the highest number of COVID mentions at intake across their network, revealing the connection between the pandemic and the financial crisis that many are experiencing. Additionally, housing, shelter, and utilities remain Unite Us’s highest requested service types across the country.

CareSource(August 2020) – CareSource announced it is committing $50 million in investments in affordable housing projects across the country and is now actively searching for partners to champion this commitment.

Fox News(December 2019) – The American Hospital Association Hospital Community Cooperative Program is highlighted in the article explaining how hospitals across the US are investing in real estate to help with homelessness, mental health and other social determinants of health.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: (December 2019) – UPMC Health Plan announced the launch of its Center for Social Impact to coordinate and expand innovation in addressing social determinants of health. As part of the initiative, UPMC will invest in housing for members who are experiencing homelessness and in collaborations to expand affordable housing.

AHA(2019) – The American Hospital Association and NORC at the University of Chicago published this issue brief on making the case for hospitals to invest in housing. The brief highlights the Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities, led by the Center for Community Investment and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which helps hospitals refine their community investment strategies around affordable housing.

AHA(2017) – In this issue brief, the American Hospital Association discusses how hospitals and health systems can implement strategies and programs to improve housing stability, providing a step-by-step pathway for hospitals to consider when developing housing programs and case studies on hospitals and health systems with innovative interventions to reduce housing barriers in their communities.

CSH: (September 2020) – CSH will be hosting a three-part webinar series in October and November 2020 titled “The Basics of Creating Supportive Housing for Health Care Sector Partners.” The webinar series will break down the “How-To” of developing, financing, budgeting, and sustaining funding for housing and services in various supportive housing models.

CSH – CSH’s FUSE initiative helps communities break the cycle of homelessness and crisis among individuals with complex medical and behavioral health challenges who are the highest users of emergency rooms, jails, shelters, clinics and other costly crisis services. Over 30 communities implementing FUSE are seeing positive results.

LISC – LISC invests in affordable housing through its LISC Housing initiative and has financed more than 400,000 homes to date.

LISC – The LISC Bring Them HOMES program helps create housing for homeless and other at-risk veterans. In partnership with the National Equity Fund, the program has raised over $4.3 million, expanded into 15 states, built over 50 developments, and created 4,343 residences to meet the needs of homeless veterans.