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Housing and Health: The Importance of Place

A new paper was released this week highlighting the link between affordable housing and good health. Housing and Health: The Importance of Place, is the second in a series of papers that is designed to demonstrate the value of affordable housing for people and communities across the State of Vermont. At every age, a safe and secure home is crucial to staying healthy. From the paper:

“We know that a well-housed person is healthier than a person who’s in bad housing with mold or is homeless,” says Community Health Improvement Director Penrose Jackson. Children, in particular, suffer cognitive impairments, asthma, mental health disorders, and diabetes and other chronic diseases as a result of living in sub-standard housing that might be riddled with mice, lead paint, mold, or chronic dampness issues. In a paper for the series “How Housing Matters to Families and Communities” from the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, Megan Sandel, M.D., M.P.H., and Deborah Frank, M.D., observe just how intertwined health and housing are, especially for developing children. “For many of our patients, a safe, decent, affordable home is like a vaccine—it literally keeps children healthy,” they say, noting their own findings proving the issues start even before birth: women who are homeless while pregnant are 50 percent more likely to have a low–birthweight baby and more than 30 percent more likely to have a preterm delivery than women who were not homeless while pregnant. And for those who do have housing, if paying for rent or a mortgage demands a disproportionate percentage of their income, they will subsequently have less money to spend on other essentials, such as food and medicine.

To read the full paper click here (PDF file). For more information, contact Chris Donnelly at the Champlain Housing Trust by calling (802) 861-7305 or Kenn Sassorossi at Housing Vermont at (802) 863-8284.

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