Evaluating the Health Benefits of Green Affordable Housing

Project Funders: Enterprise Community Partners with support from JPB Foundation, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation

Project Partners: Enterprise Community Partners, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, University of California San Francisco, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Colorado

Project Contact: Jonathan Wilson, jwilson@nchh.org, 443.539.4162

Project Description: Through the study, Enterprise Community Partners and NCHH will collect data on (1) the cost of implementing a standard set of healthy housing improvements, (2) various child asthma measures and caregiver quality of life, (3) other resident health outcomes, and (4) indoor environmental/ventilation data from a subset of homes. The study will recruit households living in multifamily dwellings that are scheduled to receive renovations that meet Enterprise Green Communities criteria as well as households moving into buildings that meet the criteria. Households must include at least one member with not-well-controlled asthma and/or a recent history of unscheduled healthcare visits for asthma. A comparison (control) group will have the same inclusion criteria as the study group, except that their homes will not undergo renovation until after the study period concludes.

The study is expected to enroll over 1,200 households and retain over 700 one year after the households move into their green dwellings. The study is currently in the enrollment phase. We hypothesize that healthy housing improvements will reduce healthcare costs among the study group and that reduction will be statistically significant when compared with the control group. These findings will provide the evidentiary support for investments in “housing as a vaccine,” thus aligning housing and health policies. The results of this study will be used to make the housing investment case to public and private health insurers, hospital community benefit programs, and investors in health impact bonds. In addition, the study will provide support and justification for affordable housing financiers to strengthen their criteria for green and healthy affordable housing redevelopment.

Resource: Healthy Home, Happy Kids Research Study [url; Enterprise]