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The Impact of HUD Housing Assistance Programs on Child Health in the United States

Andrew Fenelon, Michel Boudreaux, and Natalie Slopen examine the impact of U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development assistance programs on child health

The quality and stability of housing has an impact on health and well-being, and improvements in housing can lead to better physical and mental health. Particularly for children, better housing quality and security can lead to improved health in childhood as well as more favorable outcomes throughout the life course. Federal housing assistance programs aim to provide safe and affordable housing to lower-income families, and this investment may have implications for population health and health disparities. Our proposal seeks to examine the impact of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing assistance programs on child health, well-being, and health care access. They will use an innovative data linkage program which combines two large federal household health surveys with administrative housing records from HUD. The linkage provides housing histories for respondents in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which will allow examination of both self-reported and objective measured health outcomes among children in the HUD housing population. Their analytical approach will make use of the longitudinal housing information in the linkage to compare children currently receiving housing assistance with children in families waiting to enter assisted housing. They will examine main effects of housing assistance and the heterogeneity of effects by program type and individual characteristics such as sex, race / ethnicity, age, and duration of assistance.