From 2003 to 2004, researchers from the Urban Institute, Washington, assessed the health status of residents who were relocated as part of a federal program — called HOPE VI — to demolish decaying public housing developments and replace them with mixed-income housing.
The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts research on social and economic issues affecting America's cities and urban populations.
Project staff reported the following findings in the 2004 report, How Are HOPE VI Families Faring? Health:
- The overall health of those in the HOPE VI survey is significantly worse than the general population. Forty-one percent reported their health as fair or poor, a rate more than three times greater than self-reports among all adults nationally and twice that of black women nationally.
- About one-quarter (28 percent) of adults reported at least one of the five health problems targeted in the study (obesity, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis or asthma). Forty-four percent of adults reported two or more of these chronic health conditions.
- Nine percent of households have at least one child between ages eight and 16 in fair or poor health, a rate three times higher than the national figure.
- Some 17 percent of respondents reported that they had experienced a major depressive episode in the previous year, a rate almost three times higher than that observed among women nationally.
- Health problems prevented many respondents from carrying out ordinary daily physical activities. Half (51 percent) reported difficulty with physical mobility, including such activities as walking up stairs or standing for long periods. More than one-quarter said their physical health prevented them from working or attending education or training activities.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $380,261 in support of the project from January 2003 through June 2004.