When you learn that housing insecurity has severe health consequences, one of your first questions might be: what is housing insecurity?
When you are stressed out about your housing situation, it can affect your emotional state and ability to focus.
When you have children, there can be a lot more pressure to provide for you and your little ones.
Now, in addition to understanding the impact that stress has on our minds, body, and spirit, we also know that there are negative health consequences for this very specific type of stress.
Everyone needs housing: children, parents, students, working people, professionals… all of us. Housing insecurity is defined as:
“The inability to pay rent or utilities, need to move frequently, or residing in a place where personal safety or health is compromised. Source“
With today’s rental housing market, there is a lot of housing insecurity due to very high rental housing rates, lack of affordable housing, and lack of stable employment/income.
Since the global pandemic, housing insecurity has increased a great deal.
As a result, renters experience repeated housing arrears and exposure to pollution/environmental problems that cause daily stress, anxiety, and overwhelming concerns about having a place to live.
Housing insecurity is NOT homelessness. Homelessness means that a person does not have a stable, reliable, or permanent place to live, often residing with a family member or friend, in a shelter, automobile, motel, public facility, or an abandoned building or outside.
Housing and health are related
According to Dr. Amy Clair, from the Australian Centre for Housing Research at The University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia:
“Numerous aspects of housing are associated with health. However, the pathways between housing and health, particularly the psychosocial elements of housing, are less well understood.”
The results of her research suggest that challenging housing circumstances negatively affect health through faster biological ageing. In other words, rental housing stress ages you faster and when you age faster, your health outcomes are generally reduced in all areas of health and well-being.
We can do better
While housing insecurity is associated with faster biological aging, biological aging is preventable and reversible. This is great news and highlights the significant potential for housing policy changes to improve health and well-being.
This is what Sisterhood Agenda is doing with PARKS Holistic Housing:
PARKS Holistic Housing is no-stress housing for women and children. We all deserve safe, affordabe, eco-friendly homes with support services and green spaces that promote empowerment, health, and healing.
Photo credit: Anna Shvets, Pexels