Sisterhood Agenda

Housing Insecurity Has Severe Health Consequences

Sisterhood Agenda Housing Insecurity Has Severe Health Consequences
Angela D. Coleman
Latest posts by Angela D. Coleman (see all)

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 or if you are caring for aging parents, there can be a lot more pressure to provide for yourself and other people in your family who depend on you for their shelter needs.

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.

Housing insecurity

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.*”

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.  Many renters, and even homeowners, are one paycheck away from the inability to pay, leading to the start of legal eviction and foreclosure procedures.

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.

Let’s not confuse housing insecurity with homelessness; it 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 insecurity is more related to a lack of means to sustain or move forward, and also a feeling of not being sure that you will always have a stable place to live.

Housing and health are related

Housing can help or hurt your health.  You don’t have to be a medical professional to know which places help you feel good and which places make you feel bad. There are very obvious and more subtle ways in which our health is shaped and affected by our homes.

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 aging.  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.  It is up to us to educate our local officials and decision-makers to help them help us.

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, affordable, eco-friendly homes with support services and green spaces that promote empowerment, health, and healing.

You can support Sisterhood Agenda’s PARKS Holistic Housing whether you experience housing insecurity or not.  You can be a donor, a community partner, a volunteer, or a contributor, and there are other ways to participate, too.

What kind of housing is in your neighborhood?  How do you advocate for the type of life that you want to live?  What do you do to make your home a better place?  What do you want to see in your community?


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