How Housing Impacts Health

January 26, 2022

Social determinants of health are factors that encompass how people are born, grow, live, work and age and that affect their health outcomes. These include aspects that range from socioeconomic status to the neighborhood and physical environment and are recognized by multiple health care organizations and other groups as necessary for improving overall health and reducing health disparities.

Read the Evidence Brief: How Does Housing Impact Health?

(You can find our full archive of data-driven evidence briefs here.)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, identified housing as an important social determinant of health, highlighting the link between where people live and their health. The CDC recognized that people with low incomes and communities of color tend to reside in places with more health risks — greater exposure to health hazards within the home and the community, such as lead, mold and toxic pollutants — and face housing cost burdens that encourage housing instability, which can jeopardize the ability to meet their basic needs.

Identifying the home as a potential health hazard, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, defined eight Healthy Homes principles necessary to maintain a healthy home: keep it dry, clean, safe, well-ventilated, pest- and contaminant-free, well-maintained, and thermally controlled. People with low incomes, however, must often choose between a healthy home that meets at least this basic standard and one that they can afford.

Durham Habitat’s Homeownership Program along with our Critical and Urgent Repairs Program build and preserve safe, healthy homes that improve outcomes and reduce health care costs.