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How Can Housing Policies Improve Health for Vulnerable Populations?

For the elderly, people with disabilities, and people with complex health needs, housing and health are linked. People who are chronically ill or who are frequently hospitalized could have difficulty paying their rent on time and keeping up their homes, potentially leading to homelessness. Similarly, people who lack stable housing have more difficulty avoiding exposure to illness, eating nutritious foods, and seeing doctors. 

The recent focus on linking people who have chronic patterns of homelessness with coordinated services through supportive housing has demonstrated the benefits of better coordination and integration across the health and housing sectors for people with complex health needs.

Is it possible that changes to housing policy could help federal programs improve the health of some of society’s sickest and most vulnerable? That question is at the heart of a recent event and paper by Abt Global Senior Fellow Jill Khadduri and Abt Principal Associate Gretchen Locke. Read the full paper and proposals.

The event, hosted by Abt Global, brought together the nation’s leading experts from federal agencies, advocacy and policy organizations to explore a set of proposals to increase the use of rental housing subsidies as a platform for improved health. During the event, participants also exchanged ideas about how to break down the silos between housing and health. View videos from the event.

“We hope to continue exploring ways that the housing and health services that our society’s most vulnerable depend on are provided comprehensively, effectively, and in ways that make sense,” Khadduri said.

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