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Housing as a Pathway to Better Health and More Opportunity

In an op-ed in the Huffington Post (4/112), Sandra B. Henriquez, Assistant Secretary for HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing, and HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Dr. Raphael Bostic, write on the relationship between housing and health. Costly housing can deny people enough money to buy health insurance, and "poor quality and inadequate housing has been proven to contribute to health problems." Thus, HUD "proposed a rental assistance demonstration (RAD), which focuses on renovating existing housing and improving conditions for households," that would test "new strategies to preserve HUD subsidized public and assisted housing by allowing owners to secure other public and private financing to address capital repair needs and in the process, transform distressed neighborhoods into safe, healthy communities." The authors dismiss a Human Impact Partners and National People's Action assessment that the RAD would negatively impact tenants' health as an "incomplete" analysis "at odds with some of the most recent rigorous research." The authors conclude that the RAD "is about providing families who need help paying the rent with real choices."