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Housing Insecurity

The link between safe, stable housing and health is well established. Studies have shown that improving housing can improve a community’s overall health.1 However, some people are not certain that they will be able to keep their current house or apartment because of income insecurity or other concerns.

Findings in Santa Barbara County

Measure

Housing insecurity was measured by response to the following question: “Are you worried that in the next 2 months, you may not have stable housing?”

Table 20. Percentage of Adults Reporting Housing Insecurity

2016 Santa Barbara
BRFSS
California*Health People 2020
Target
%(95% CI) % (95% CI)
Overall 10.7 (8.5–13.0) NA
Male 12.6 (8.9–16.3) NA
Female 9.0 (6.4–11.5) NA
None**
Hispanic 18.2 (13.4–23.0) NA
Non-Hispanic White 6.9 (4.3–9.4) NA
Other 6.2 (2.0–10.5) NA

*2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
**There is no target in HP 2020 that corresponds to the question above.

Figure 63. Percentage of Adults Reporting Housing Insecurity in Santa Barbara County, by Sex and Age

Percentage of Adults Reporting Housing Insecurity in Santa Barbara County, by Sex and AgeClick to Enlarge

Figure 64. Percentage of Adults Reporting Housing Insecurity in Santa Barbara County by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and Income

Percentage of Adults Reporting Housing Insecurity in Santa Barbara County by Race/Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, and IncomeClick to Enlarge

Health Disparities

Hispanics and men have the highest risk of housing insecurity, along with people in the lowest income and education levels.

Figure 65. Percentage of Santa Barbara County Residents Worried They May Not Have Stable Housing, by County Subregion

Figure 65. Percentage of Santa Barbara County Residents Worried They May Not Have Stable Housing, by County SubregionClick to Enlarge

Factors and Health Outcomes Associated With Housing Insecurity

Figure 66 presents various factors and health outcomes associated with housing insecurity. It compares people who report housing insecurity with all adults in the Santa Barbara County survey and Californians as a whole.

Figure 66. Health and Risk Factors of Adults in Santa Barbara County Who Have Insecure Housing (10.7%), Compared With All Santa Barbara County Adults and Californians* as a Whole

Health and Risk Factors of Adults in Santa Barbara Who Have Insecure Housing (10.7%), Compared With All Santa Barbara Adults and Californians* as a WholeClick to Enlarge

*Data are not available for California for all indicators

As with many other health indicators, people who do not have secure housing are also more likely to have only fair or even poor health than others in Santa Barbara County and California. They are less likely to have completed a high school degree. A larger percentage of them experienced food insecurity and mental health issues during the previous month. Finally, more people with housing insecurity are uninsured, lack a regular health care provider, and report that cost is a barrier to health care, compared with Santa Barbara County and California as a whole.

Key Opportunities for Population Health Improvement

What Can Businesses Do

  • Consider investing in workforce housing, which has long-term return on investment in the form of workforce retention.2
  • Help employees access housing assistance through the California Department of Housing and Community Development or by becoming a member of the Coastal Housing Partnership.3
  • Support activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership or provide direct rental assistance to low income households.4

http://www.lifewhereyouloveit.org/housing-assistance.html
http://www.hcd.ca.gov/
http://www.coastalhousing.org
http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/policies/home-investment-partnership-program


What Healthcare Providers Can Do

  • Educate providers on linkage between housing insecurity and health.5
  • Collaborate with housing and other organizations to help address health and housing issues; see models from Boston, New York, and Chicago.6
  • Connect patients with community resources to help with housing insecurity.7
  • Refer patients to tenant-based rental assistance programs for direct cash assistance for more housing options than they could afford on their own.8

http://www2.nhc.org/HSGandHealthLitRev_2015_final.pdf
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/summer12/highlight3.html

http://cosb.countyofsb.org/housing/default.aspx?id=50541
http://cosb.countyofsb.org/housing/default.aspx?id=4420
https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/health-equity-tenant-based-rental-assistance-programs


What Individuals Can Do

  • For help finding stable housing, use community resources in Santa Barbara County, such as the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness9 or Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.10

http://www.c3homes.org/find-housing
10 http://www.pshhc.org/properties/affordable_rental_properties/santa_barbara.html



1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2016). Healthy People 2020. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov

Thomson, H., Thomas, S., Sellstrom, E., & Petticrew, M. (2013). Housing improvements for health and associated socio-economic outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2, Art. No. CD008657.


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