Cross-sector partnerships can improve health where it begins—in the home

Originally published on Modern Healthcare.

As the body of research on housing as a social determinant of health grows, healthcare and housing leaders in the U.S. are increasingly looking for ways to work together to improve lives. We see over and over that housing is an essential foundation for individual and community health. Cross-sector collaborations between health systems and affordable housing and community developers hold great potential to yield healthier communities at lower costs than when the two fields operate in silos.

More than 20 million renter households in the U.S. spend more than 30% of their total income on housing, which is the threshold experts say begins to put pressure on household budgets. Renters’ concerns about being able to afford their housing often leads to sacrificing medical care to pay their rent.

In our recent survey with Wakefield Research, more than half of renters reported delaying medical care because they couldn’t afford it, and 100% of medical professionals said they have some patients worried about being able to afford housing. Many also reported that financial concerns were causing them enough stress that they were losing sleep.