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Healthcare and Affordable Green Housing 

Homelessness is a complex issue with many contributing factors, but a lack of

affordable housing is among the most significant. Affordable housing is defined as

housing that costs no more than 30% of a household’s income. When housing costs

more than 30% of a household’s income, it can lead to financial hardship, housing

instability, and homelessness. 

Housing insecurity and substandard housing environments can have a significant impact on health. There is a large body of evidence that suggests homelessness and poor quality housing conditions are strongly associated with increased morbidity and can lead to many medical conditions including, but not limited to, respiratory diseases, mental health disorders and infectious diseases for both adult and pediatric populations. 

People with housing insecurity are more likely to be subjected to food deserts, environmental exposures and limited access to critical resources i.e. clean water. People with unstable housing also face significant barriers to accessing healthcare services. All of these factors contribute to the higher rates of not only morbidity but also mortality seen amongst people experiencing homelessness compared to the general United States population. Those most affected by homelessness in the United States include veterans, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals and the elderly. 

While a lack of affordable housing in the United States and its effects on health and healthcare delivery is a complex issue, it is evident that this is a true public health crisis that disproportionately affects socially and economically marginalized communities. Housing instability is an important social determinant of health and increasing access to affordable and green housing can significantly improve the physical and mental health of millions of Americans. 

Here are some organizations that are working to address the lack of affordable housing:

National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC):

National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH):

The Coalition for the Homeless:

If you want to get involved in the fight to end homelessness and create more affordable

housing, I encourage you to contact one of these organizations.

Dr. Joi Spaulding



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