Our health is inextricably tied to where we live. Those words are at the heart of a new report from the Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities called, “Place Matters: The Intersection of Housing and Health.”
The report identifies how factors outside of health care can affect someone’s health. For example, having access to safe, stable, and affordable homes – particularly in communities with transportation options, parks, and healthy food – can lead to better physical and mental health and improve overall quality of life for Arizonans. The infographic below highlights some of the key issues the report hopes to address.
The report doesn’t just point out problems, it also looks to find possible solutions. Among the recommendations offered for improving the intersection of affordable housing and health:
Create more affordable housing.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2017 The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, only 1 out of every 4 extremely low-income renters can find an affordable apartment in Arizona. This translates to a shortage of over 168,000 affordable homes. Potential ways to create more affordable housing include:
- Expand funding for the State and National Housing Trust Funds and encourage funding for new projects to include healthy community components
- Expand Arizona’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and encourage the inclusion of healthy community components in funding decisions
- Provide more rental assistance vouchers
- Invest in supportive housing, which pairs affordable housing with supportive services
The State of Arizona should integrate housing and supportive health services to improve the delivery system of both sectors.
Possible ways to do this include:
- Encourage linkages within AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid program) between housing and healthy community programs, city planning, and transportation departments
- Make greater use of Medicaid services for supportive housing
- Create a system for shared planning and preparation of coordinated supportive services
If you would like to read the entire report, you can download “Place Matters: The Intersection of Housing and Health” here. The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is one of the partners in the Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities. We believe it can make a positive difference in the lives of Arizonans. Now we’d like to hear what you think. Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues affecting the people of our state is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!