By KIMBERLEY HAAS
The Biden-Harris Administration has released a set of actions to better social determinants of health and officials at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development say it shows the importance of housing as a key driver of health outcomes.
The U.S. Playbook to Address Social Determinants of Health says social determinants of health are defined as “the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”
These account for as much as 50% of county-level health outcomes, according to the playbook.
The playbook says housing insecurity is associated with increased mental health challenges, adverse birth outcomes for pregnant mothers, and death from any cause.
Inadequate housing can increase the risk of exposure to unsanitary conditions, lead poisoning, poor indoor air quality, as well as climate-related hazards such as extreme temperatures and severe weather events.
In addition, the affordable housing deficit increases the risks of homelessness, the playbook says.
Biden has released All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, the White House Housing Supply Action Plan, and Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights to tackle these problems.
“Investments and actions made through these ambitious plans will increase housing affordability and stability and improve health outcomes for both individuals and communities across the country,” the playbook says.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement that they continue to work with the administration and partners across the country to coordinate the housing, health care, and supportive services that enable Americans to thrive.
“Housing is foundational to health and lifelong success. Today’s Playbook and suite of actions are important steps forward in our efforts to advance health equity,” Fudge said.
According to officials at HUD, over 8.53 million households not receiving government housing assistance in 2021 were either living in inadequate rental conditions, paying more than half their income toward rent, or both.
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