Housing insecurity makes it harder to be healthy
In my 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 young people and adults.
In youth, it is associated with depression, arrests and increased tobacco use. In adults, it is associated with poor physical and mental health, increased risk of substance use, violence, food insecurity and material hardship.
During the pandemic, black and Hispanic families experienced greater levels of housing volatility at the national level, including the threat of deportation.
Despite what we know nationally about ethnic and racial disparities in housing instability, there is little systematic data to understand the cultural, ethnic, and legal structure of housing instability and its health consequences for Hispanic or Latino families.
I am a member of one 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 Award (RWJF-IRL), aims to demystify how housing insecurity affects 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 US citizens, non-citizens are excluded from all federal and many state and local sources of aid. This includes housing support.