A just housing system ensures access to high-quality, safe, and affordable housing to residents with mixed income levels. Quality housing reduces stress and provides individuals with a sense of security. Housing located near necessary resources and amenities, such as grocery stores, employment opportunities, and parks promotes health by providing individuals with access to necessary goods and services.
DISPARITIES AND STATISTICS
Race and Ethnicity: There has been little change in the racial composition of neighborhoods over time. People of color, especially black people, continue to live in racially segregated communities. Racial segregation is part of a cycle of inequality and can deprive groups of access to important health-promoting resources such as healthy food options, quality schools, and parks and green space.19 Racially segregated low-income areas also have higher crime rates, substandard housing, and limited access to broader social networks limiting opportunities for upward social mobility and better health. Another characteristic of racially segregated poorer areas is hyper-policing and racial profiling.20
Socioeconomic Status: Facing a shortage of more than 7.2 million affordable and available rental homes, extremely low income households account for nearly 73% of the nation’s severely cost-burdened renters, who spend more than half of their income on housing. Even with these housing challenges, three out of four low-income households in need of housing assistance are denied federal help with their housing due to chronic underfunding. Over half a million people were homeless on a single night in 2017 and many more millions of families without assistance face difficult choices between spending their limited incomes on rent or taking care of other necessities like food and medical care.21
Health: Caregivers of young children in low-income unstable housing are subjected to significant negative health effects, becoming two times more likely than those in stable housing to be in fair or poor health, and almost three times more likely to report depressive symptoms. Children aged four and under in these families had almost a 20% increased risk of hospitalization, and over a 25% increased risk of developmental delays.22
For more information on the impact of foreclosures on public health, check out the following report by Causa Justa :: Just Cause.23