Housing insecurity makes it harder to be healthy
In my own work as a researcher, I investigate how health and well-being is affected by housing insecurity, which is a social determinant of health. The lack of safe, stable, adequate, and affordable housing directly affects the health of both youth and adults.
In youth, it’s associated with depression, arrests, and increased tobacco use. In adults, it’s associated with poor physical and mental health, increased risk of substance use, violence, food insecurity, and material hardship.
During the pandemic, Black and Hispanic households experienced the greatest levels of housing instability nationally, including threat of eviction.
Despite what we know at a national scale about ethnic and racial disparities in housing instability, there is little systematic data to understand the cultural, ethnic, and legal texture of housing instability and its health-related consequences for Hispanic or Latino families.
I am a member of an interdisciplinary team of researchers examining the impacts of housing instability on Latino family health in Northern Nevada. Our work, funded by a Robert Wood Foundation Interdisciplinary Research (RWJF-IRL) award, seeks to demystify how housing insecurity impacts health and well-being for Latino families.
Latino health is shaped by political and social factors such as language/cultural barriers, lack of access to preventive care, and lack of health insurance. For example, Latinos have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the US. While 4 out of 5 Latinos are U.S. citizens, non-citizens are excluded from all federal, and many state and local sources of aid. This includes housing support.