family excited on move-in day

Healthy Housing

The Challenge:

Safe and affordable housing is an essential component of healthy communities, and the effects of housing problems are widespread. Residents who do not have a kitchen in their home are more likely to depend on unhealthy convenience foods, and a lack of plumbing facilities increases the risk of infectious disease. Research has found that young children who live in crowded housing conditions are at increased risk of food insecurity, which may impact their academic performance. In areas where housing costs are high, low-income residents may be forced into substandard living conditions with an increased exposure to mold and mildew growth, pest infestation, and lead or other environmental hazards. Unmet housing needs may include homelessness, near homelessness, poor housing quality, or inability to pay a mortgage or rent.

Again this year, over half of the public (53%) report that they have made sacrifices over the past three years to be able to cover their rent or mortgage. These sacrifices have included taking on an additional job/more hours at work (24%), ceasing to save for retirement (19%), accumulating credit card debt (17%), or cutting back on healthy food (13%) or healthcare (11%). (MacAuthor Foundation, 2015)

Local Facts:

  • In Douglas County, 47.9% of renters spend 30% or more of household income on rent. (ACS, 2015)
  • In Douglas County, 16.1% of homes are reported to have “severe housing problems” ie: This indicator measures the percentage of households with at least one of the following four housing problems: overcrowding, high housing costs, lack of kitchen, or lack of plumbing facilities, etc. (County Health Rankings, 2014)