Housing Mobility Provides a Prescription for Healthy Living

Moving families from segregated, high poverty neighborhoods, into desegregated "areas of opportunity" has multiple effects. Housing mobility programs help revitalize communities and improve the physical and mental health of families involved.
September 6, 2012, 7am PDT | bstanley
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Phil Tegeler (Poverty and Race Research Action Council) and Salimah Hankins (American Civil Liberties Union) profile the Baltimore's HUD supported Housing Mobility Program in Shelterforce's latest issue "Are Our Neighborhoods Making Us Sick?"

Housing segregation is widely cited as a cause of racial health disparities, and research supports the hypothesis that these disparities effect vulnerable children in the most severe ways. Reduction in rates of asthma, diabetes, obesity, and mental health conditions in families moving from high-poverty areas into low-poverty neighborhoods (like those in the Baltimore program) is well documented and "the savings to the public health system alone could pay for these moves many times over."

Tegeler and Hankins argue that leaders of housing mobility programs need to share stories about these health improvements with HUD to encourage them to move forward with the mobility agenda. But that won't be enough if civil rights groups are the only advocates at the table. As the authors point out, "we need our colleagues in the community development field to support mobility programs as a necessary complement to building stronger, healthier low- and mixed-income communities."

Thanks to Brittany Stanley

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Published on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Shelterforce Magazine
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