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May 5, 2014 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

Better Housing Means Better Health

When considering how to improve health outcomes for low-income individuals, most people think about providing access to good medical care and keeping the cost of that care as low as possible. What people rarely think about is the connection between good health and quality affordable housing.

For instance, when families have high housing payments, they have less money to buy nutritious food or to pay for medical care, making them more vulnerable to chronic illnesses. And, when individuals don’t have stable housing, research has found that they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that can make them sick. Sometimes it’s a person’s home itself that makes them sick, if it exposes them to toxins like lead, or to insect or rodent infestations.

In this edition of What Funders Need to Know, we explore these connections. We also highlight some promising practices by both government and business that help low-income individuals get housed, stay healthier, and lower overall costs.

Ultimately, affordable housing is fundamental to improving health outcomes for low-income people. For funders interested in housing or in health, we suggest four ways to bolster these connections.

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