Looming wave of evictions, housing instability poses threat to health

Originally published on U.S. News World & Report.

Dr. Megan Sandel, an associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, said the pattern of evictions often follow the historic trends of disinvestment in communities from redlining, the unequal treatment in lending faced by many communities of color. “You see this perpetuation of housing discrimination even to this day.”

Black and Hispanic households are almost twice as likely as white households to lack housing security, according to a 2014 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Sandel, who also is an associate professor of environmental health at Boston University, said federal rental assistance and extending unemployment insurance could help families, but long-term solutions are needed.

“When families are able to move to areas with less concentrated poverty, their kids have higher lifetime earnings and are able to move up the economic ladder,” she said. “We talk about health so much in terms of pills or interventions, but a stable, decent, affordable home is the best intervention I can provide to my families. Right now, that’s under threat for millions of Americans.”