Housing as Health Care: Advocates Press for COVID Crisis Solutions

Originally published on Public News Service.

BOSTON — Housing advocates say the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be contained until everyone has the ability to isolate — and that means everyone must have an affordable place to live.

Experts on low-income housing are speaking out, emphasizing that housing is tied to health care.

Dr. Megan Sandel, an associate professor at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, says the stress of being homeless or close to it damages people’s health and makes them more susceptible to the virus.

“These are pre-COVID era, and you know that millions more families are going to be behind on rent and suffer the same types of adverse outcomes that we associate with homelessness,” she points out.

Advocates praise the CARES Act, which put billions of dollars toward homeless shelters and rental assistance, but they say more will be needed.

They note that pre-COVID, widespread poverty and a massive shortage of low-income housing means millions of Americans have no cushion to absorb the shock of losing their job during the public-health lockdown.