Aug 23 2012

Moving Toward Health in all Policies at HUD

How does housing impact health?

A new commentary in the journal Health Affairs tracks the history of health and housing in the United States and says that while a connection between housing conditions and public health has been known since the 1800s, federal housing policy only began during the Great Depression. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has increased awareness of that connection since the agency was founded in the 1960s.

HUD’s housing initiatives have included:

  • Prohibitions on lead and gasoline in HUD housing
  • Programs to allow HUD tenants to move to more affluent neighborhoods
  • Integration of health-oriented policies with other departments  including the Department of Health and Human Services

Authors of the commentary worry that current congressional funding policies lead to “predetermined silos,” which could impede the needed integration of projects among federal agencies. HUD’s adoption of a health in all policies approach, according to the authors, “signals an active recognition that the investments have implications for social determinants of health and ultimately for the health of the populations HUD serves.”

>>Read the full article.

>>Bonus Links: Read a NewPublichealth interview with one of the commentary authors, Raphael Bostic, called “Housing Policy is Health Policy” and an interview from our National Prevention Strategy Series with Estelle Richman, senior advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Tags: Built Environment and Health, Housing, Public and Community Health, Recommended Reading