A lack of stable housing increases the risk of poor health outcomes and other hardships. Housing insecurity is a measure of how close a person or family is to being homeless, determined by factors such as being behind on mortgage or rent, making multiple moves, living in a shelter, and experiencing homelessness. Many pediatric and adult health issues, such as asthma, lead exposure, and depression, are associated with housing insecurity. In addition, unstable housing can lead to interrupted schooling for children, difficulty finding work, and choosing between paying for rent and paying for medication and other health expenses.
Through dedicated funding and local partnerships, Boston Medical Center is combating housing instability and homelessness. In 2017, BMC committed 100% of its $6.5 million Determination of Need contribution to housing — marking the first time that a Massachusetts hospital has earmarked all of its community health funding toward one social determinant of health. BMC is also home to many other programs, partnerships, and research efforts that aim to foster health through stable housing.
Partners and Related Resources
- Children’s HealthWatch
- Medical Legal Partnership
- Elders Living at Home
- Health Leads
- Madison Park Development Corporation
- Boston Health Care for the Homeless
- Casa Esperanza
- Guide to resources for families and individuals facing eviction or housing instability (Also available in Haitian Creole, Spanish, and Portuguese)
- Boston Globe: Boston Medical Center has a new prescription for its most vulnerable patients: Housing
- Wall Street Journal: Health Care Looks Beyond Medicine to Social Factors