SUBSTANDARD HOUSING conditions have been linked to higher rates of infectious disease, chronic illnesses and injuries, but millions of low-income Americans have little choice about where they live.
Remedying housing deficiencies – such as water leaks, dirty carpets, pest infestations, lead residue, poor ventilation and broken staircases and windows – can significantly improve health, help people out of poverty and drive savings by reducing medical costs and stabilizing families, says Ruth Ann Norton, CEO and president of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, a Baltimore-based nonprofit.
“We look at health, economic and social outcomes,” Norton says. “If we address housing, we can save billions of dollars every year.”
Norton recently spoke with U.S. News about GHHI’s advocacy for policy change and funding to address inadequate housing in low-income neighborhoods across the U.S. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What role does housing play in influencing health outcomes – both housing affordability and quality?
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