Meeting Housing Needs Improves Health Outcomes for At-Risk Families

Originally published on PsychCentral.

Families facing housing instability or homelessness who enroll in a program designed to support their housing and health needs see significant improvements in child health and parent mental health outcomes within six months, according to a new study by researchers from Boston Medical Center.

The program, called Housing Prescription as Health Care (HPHC), helps families experiencing homelessness and housing instability in Boston and uses a multi-dimensional approach to address families’ specific needs. The program is led by Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center.

Between the years 2016 and 2019, the HPHC pilot program enrolled 78 families to determine whether the coordination of services that address housing, financial, legal, social, and health needs may improve health outcomes when compared with current approaches.

The intervention was shown to reduce the number of children with fair or poor health by 32% in the first six months of the study.

The study findings are published in the journal Health Affairs.

“Our study aimed to explore how a multi-faceted intervention designed for families experiencing housing instability and homelessness might improve the health of children and their families,” said Allison Bovell-Ammon, M.Div, director of policy strategy at Children’s HealthWatch and the study’s corresponding author. “Secure housing allows families to direct focus toward their health, while living in an environment that allows them to thrive.”