Report: lack of housing in L.A. County impacts health

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reports that 1.2 million LA County residents lack affordable housing, which may impact their health. The new report, titled “Social Determinants of Health: Housing and Health in Los Angeles County,” describes three dimensions of housing: affordability; stability; and quality. Challenges with any dimension can negatively affect health in multiple ways.

“The links between health and access to affordable, stable and safe housing are key to understanding adverse health outcomes among Los Angeles County residents,” said Cynthia Harding, MPH, Interim Director of the Department of Public Health. “Housing issues are linked to many health disparities. This report outlines how housing related challenges that individuals and families confront impact their ability to be healthy.

“We are excited about the opportunities to work with our partners, including other County Departments, community-based organizations, businesses and cities to collectively address the nexus between housing and health.”

The report shows many families who had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage were also unable to afford nutritious food, or medical care including doctor and dentist visits, mental health care, and prescription medications.

The report also indicates that many Los Angeles County adults have experienced homelessness. According to the 2011 Los Angeles County Health Survey (LACHS), about 5% of adults – an estimated 373,000 County residents – did not have their own place to live or sleep at some point during the last five years.

The LACHS found that hundreds of thousands of households experienced potentially unhealthy or dangerous housing conditions including mold, pests like rodents and cockroaches, and a lack of heat or hot water. The report also discusses risks of exposure to toxic lead paint that can cause developmental and neurologic problems in children.

To view the full report online, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/ha/.

 

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Published: March 12, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 48